Box office reaches new record, but international sales flat

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Motion Picture Association of America said Wednesday that the worldwide box office reached a record $38.6 billion in 2016, though international revenues were essentially stagnant. The MPAA's annual report showed a global increase of .5 percent in ticket sales from 2015. While China, the world's second-largest market after the U.S., has long been a priority of Hollywood, it dropped 1 percent last year with $6.6 billion in ticket sales.

'Beauty and the Beast' debut weekend earnings revised up

NEW YORK (AP) -- Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" was an even bigger hit than first thought. The film's weekend box office earnings were revised up nearly $5 million from estimates Sunday. In final figures Monday, Disney said "Beauty and the Beast" made $174.8 million in North American theaters. The result set numerous records.

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ROMAN POLANSKI CASE LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge in Los Angeles says he will be issuing a ruling that might end the long-running sex abuse case of Roman Polanski. The Oscar winning director is an international fugitive from justice in the United States -- this after fleeing in 1989 before he was sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

'Beauty and the Beast' roars with monstrous $170M debut

NEW YORK (AP) -- Disney's live-action "Beauty" was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies. "Beauty and the Beast" blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday. Last year, Disney's "Finding Dory" debuted with a then-PG-best $135 million. "Beauty and the Beast" felled many other records, too.

'Kong: Skull Island' is king of box office with $61 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was Wolverine versus King Kong at the box office this weekend, and Kong came out on top. "Kong: Skull Island" opened with $61 million over the weekend, while "Logan," in its second week, pulled in $38.1 million, according to studio figures Monday. Jordan Peele's thriller "Get Out," made for $4.5 million, hung on in the top five, adding $20.7 million to its earnings and bringing its total to $110.

In sensation of 'Get Out,' hints of a Trump-effect

NEW YORK (AP) -- There have been monster gorillas and sharp-clawed superheroes at the box office this month, but the biggest beast of them all has been Jordan Peele's $4.5 million, race-exploding thriller "Get Out." In just 16 days, Peele's low-budget self-described "social horror" film has already crossed the $100 million mark.

'Kong' outmuscles 'Logan' to become king of the box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was a battle of the beasts at the box office this weekend, and King Kong emerged as the definitive victor over Wolverine. According to studio estimates Sunday, "Kong: Skull Island" amassed $61 million in its first weekend in theaters, surpassing expectations and easily beating out "Logan," which is now in its second weekend. Warner Bros. and Legendary's "Kong: Skull Island" stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackie Chan: Hollywood competition means better China films

BEIJING (AP) -- Jackie Chan says letting more Hollywood movies into the Chinese market would pressure Chinese filmmakers to make better films. China sets a quota on the number of foreign movies allowed to be shown in the country, trying to fend off a cinematic wave that could swamp local filmmakers and loosen the ruling Communist Party's grip on culture. However, competition can be good, Chan said.

Box Office Top 20: 'Logan' debut even bigger than expected

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Logan," Hugh Jackman's last stand as Wolverine, did even better than expected. According to final box-office figures Monday, its weekend debut totaled $88.4 million in North American ticket sales, $3 million more than was estimated Sunday. The smash hit "X-Men" spinoff ranks as the fourth best March opening (not adjusting for inflation), as well as one of the best R-rated debuts.

BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

Here are the AP's latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. ---------------------------- NEW & DEVELOPING ---------------------------- Adds: SEX ABUSE-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, RUSSIA-HOOLIGANS, SELMA-MARCH ANNIVERSARY, MARINES-NUDE PHOTOS. ------------------ ONLY ON AP ----------------- BROKEN FAITH-HFR -- At least a half-dozen times over two decades, authorities investigated reports that members of a secretive evangelical church were being beaten.

'Logan' slices box office with $85.3M, 'Moonlight' gets bump

NEW YORK (AP) -- The R-rated "X-Men" spinoff "Logan" slashed into the weekend box office, opening with a massive $85.3 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, while best-picture winner "Moonlight" got a significant, if far from superhero-sized, Oscar bump. The debut of 20th Century Fox's "Logan," starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, ranks among the biggest March openings ever and top R-rated debuts.

Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS Asia stocks advance ahead of Trump speech, China congress HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stocks were mostly higher today after another strong finish on Wall Street as investors awaited a speech by President Donald Trump to the U.S. Congress.

Box Office Top 20: 'Get Out' nets $33.4 million opening

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Comedian Jordan Peele's directorial debut, "Get Out," did even better in its first weekend in theaters than initially projected. The micro budget thriller pulled in $33.4 million -- about $3 million higher than what was estimated on Sunday by the studios. It easily topped the box office and unseated "The Lego Batman Movie" from first place. The "Lego Movie" spinoff earned $19.2 million in its third week in theaters.

Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' scares up big $30.5 million debut

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Great reviews and buzz propelled comedian Jordan Peele's directorial debut, the micro-budget thriller "Get Out," to a chart-topping opening weekend with $30.5 million according to studio estimates Sunday. The Blumhouse-produced and Universal Pictures-distributed film cost an estimated $4.5 million to make. While it was expected to perform well against its budget, few people foresaw a debut this big -- especially with a relatively unknown star in Daniel Kaluuya leading the film.

Box Office Top 20: 'Lego Batman,' 'Fifty Shades' stay on top

NEW YORK (AP) -- Holdovers "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Fifty Shades Darker" led the North American box office for a second week, while Matt Damon's "The Great Wall" -- a hit in China, where it was made -- struggled in its domestic debut. Warner Bros.' "The Lego Batman Movie" was No.1 again, selling $42.7 million in tickets over the four-day holiday weekend, according to final figures Tuesday from comScore.