'Beauty and the Beast' could make $1.5 billion at the box office, and it has big implications for Disney's future

After earning a whopping $US170 million in its opening weekend, Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” is shaping up to be a monster at the box office.

And that’s spectacular news not just for Disney’s immediate bottom line, but also for its big new strategic push, according to Nomura-Instinet analyst Anthony Di Clemente.

“Given its $US170mn domestic opening weekend haul, we calculate that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ could generate a total of $US1.23-1.54bn in global Box Office receipts,” DiClemente wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “This is well ahead of our prior base-case scenario, which called for the theatrical release to generate a worldwide haul of $US1.09bn.”

Simply put: “Beauty and the Beast” is crushing expectations.

Here’s a chart that shows the change in Nomura-Instinet’s estimate:

That’s good news on a few fronts for Disney.

Besides the money coming from the box office, the success of “Beauty and the Beast” will help Disney with things like licensing consumer products, and even potential long-term expansions of its theme parks, according to DiClemente.

But what is really promising for Disney investors is what it means for Disney’s live-action reboot strategy. Disney has already said it will make a live-action version of “Mulan” in 2018, but if these remakes keep doing well, there’s no reason to believe Disney will stop making them.

“We believe Disney’s library IP lends itself to similar live action reboots, improving the visibility of revenue growth for the Studio, a major structural advantage relative to other major studios,” DiClemente wrote. He thinks Disney’s string of animated hits in the 80s and 90s can be look at as an “attractive source of fairly predictable Studio revenue” in the coming years.

Nostalgia will give Disney a boost, especially relative to its competitors, if it becomes harder to get people into movie theatres.

Here’s a list of titles Nomura-Instinet thinks Disney will consider:

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