THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ continues box-office dominance, Goldie Hawn to be named Cinema Icon at CinemaCon, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds remembered

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Audra McDonald plays opera singer Madame Garderobe, who is magically transformed into a wardrobe, in Disney's blockbuster live-action movie-musical version of "Beauty and the Beast." Photo provided by Disney

Audra McDonald plays opera singer Madame Garderobe, who is magically transformed into a wardrobe, in Disney’s blockbuster live-action movie-musical version of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo provided by Disney

Disney’s lavish live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” waltzed off with the No. 1 spot at the box office again this weekend.

The second weekend for the fairytale blockbuster dominated in North America with another $88.3 million at 4,210 locations, according to Variety. The reboot continues to break records, scoring the fourth-largest second weekend of all time, behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with $149 million, “Jurassic World” with $106 million, and Marvel’s “The Avengers” with $103 million.

“Beauty” declined just 49 percent from its opening weekend, which was the seventh-best ever. After 10 days in North American theaters, “Beauty and the Beast” is already 55th on the all-time domestic list at $317 million, for the fourth-largest 10-day domestic total ever.

As previously reported, the “tale as old as time’s” magical $178 million domestic opening weekend (the final opening weekend take actually proved higher than the studio estimates) also broke several records, including the biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film

Along with Fox’s “Logan,” Warner’s “Kong: Skull Island,” and Universal’s “Get Out,” Disney’s latest reimagining of one of its classic animated films helped the March domestic box office hit $1 billion for the first time, according to Variety.

“Beauty and the Beast” was AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for March 17-21, 2017. To read my review of “Beauty and the Beast,” click here.

Audra McDonald joyful over second chance at ‘Beauty’

Six-time Tony Award winner and prolific screen actress Audra McDonald told me in an interview last week that working with the starry cast of the “Beauty and the Beast” remake was a joy.

When the selfish prince (Dan Stevens) falls under the curse of an enchantress, McDonald’s opera singer character, Madame Garderobe, is transformed into a wardrobe eventually tasked with dressing Belle (Emma Watson) when the heroine stumbles upon the bewitched castle. Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci also play members of the prince’s household who are turned into household objects when he is turned into the Beast.

“Getting to know that incredible cast and working together in our big ensemble scenes was my favorite,” McDonald said. “It was a joyous time.”

It was a particular joy for McDonald since she auditioned for a minor part in the “Beauty and the Beast” Broadway stage musical but didn’t get it.

“I am very lucky and happy about the way my career has unfolded,” she said. “When I look back on it now, I know that if I had been cast in the ensemble of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ back in 1993 on Broadway, then I wouldn’t have gotten cast in ‘Carousel,’ and wouldn’t have won a Tony Award, and met the people that I met, and started down my path, and so on and so on.

“It all happens for a reason!”

To read more of my interview with McDonald, click here.

Goldie Hawn appears in a scene from the 2002 film "The Banger Sisters." Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

Goldie Hawn appears in a scene from the 2002 film “The Banger Sisters.” Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

Goldie Hawn to be named Cinema Icon at CinemaCon

Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn will receive the prestigious Cinema Icon Award at CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners this week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Hawn will be presented with this special honor at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony Thursday.

Previous winners of the award include Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Costner.

“With a career that has spanned roles in more than 30 films Goldie Hawn continues to shine on the big screen as one of the most entertaining, relatable and recognizable actresses of our time,” said Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, in a news release. “With an unforgettable presence and charm both onscreen and off Hawn has entertained audiences of all ages and we are pleased to honor an incredible woman with this year’s Cinema Icon Award.”

Hawn is an actress, producer, director, best-selling author and children’s advocate who made her acting debut in the comedy “Good Morning, World” and later rose to prominence as part of the comedy show “Laugh-In.” In 1969, Hawn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Cactus Flower.” Hawn has also produced numerous films including “Private Benjamin” which earned her a second Academy Award nomination for the lead role.

She is the founder of The Hawn Foundation, an international charitable organization with a mission to equip children with social and emotional skills. She published her best-selling memoir, “A Lotus Grows in the Mud,” in 2005 and has also released a book offering guidance on raising healthy and joyful children called “10 Mindful Minutes”.

Hawn and Amy Schumer will star together in 20th Century Fox’s road-trip comedy “Snatched,” out on May 12.

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher remembered at memorial service

More than 1,000 fans, friends and family members turned out Saturday to Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills for a joint memorial to honor Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. It was an afternoon of music, memories and more than a few tears, as the public said goodbye to two of Hollywood’s most influential leading ladies, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Joe Mantegna, who worked with both actresses, shared his thoughts on what made the mother-and-daughter duo so extraordinary: “How much they embraced life. They just loved it. They bit it off, chewed it up and spit it out. I mean, that’s what was great about them.”

To read my column about Fisher’s death and the lasting legacy of her most famous character, Princess Leia, click here.


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