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Trending: You Beauty. Belle and Gaston are a smash for Disney

Beauty and The Beast smashes record for children's rated film,
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Beauty raked in US$170mln for Disney in North America alone in first weekend

It’s a tale as old as time.

Film company updates classic adaption of famous old fairy tale.

Nothing much changes except instead of cartoons, actors and CGI are used instead.

Whole new generation is enchanted and film company rakes in shed loads of cash.

The end.

Or not quite.

The film in question is of course Beauty and the Beast starring Harry Potter’s own Emma Watson as the eponymous Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast.

Taking in US$170mln (£137mln) in North America has made it the biggest ever opening weekend for a PG-rated film and even here in the UK B&B raked in an impressive £18.4mln.

Indeed, so successful was Disney’s new version of Beauty and the Beast in its first weekend, there is already talk of B&B 2, 3 and a franchise of films where for once the ugly man gets the girl.

M&S pulls Google ads

In a big and developing story, Marks and Spencer Group Plc (M&S) (LON:MKS) has become the latest company to halt advertising on Google and YouTube after its marketing was placed alongside extremist content.

M&S, which confirmed the move last night, joins a string of companies that have pulled adverts, including the BBC, HSBCLloyds Banking Group, L’Oreal, Audi and international media agency Havas.

Sky plc, Barclays plc, Vodafone and Waitrose are also reportedly considering doing the same.

 “In order to ensure brand safety, we are pausing activity across Google platforms whilst the matter is worked through,” M&S said.

UK house price growth was flat in March amid uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, according to figures from Rightmove today.

The average asking price for homes in England and Wales was £310,108 in March, a 2.3% rise on the same month a year ago and unchanged from the previous month’s annual gain.

Asking prices posted a month-on-month increase of 1.3%, down from a 2.0% increase in February, marking the third consecutive month of growth.

The Midlands posted the strongest price gains, with the West and East increasing a monthly 2.1%. On the same time year ago, the East Midlands jumped 5.7% and the West Midlands edged up 4.2%.

In London, property prices grew 1.4% on the month and 0.9% on the year to an average of £649,772, driven by growth in outer reaches.

 

Taxi for Jones at Uber

More growing pains for the hugely successful taxi app start-up Uber.

President Jeff Jones is off after just seven months at the company.

Jones joined from retailer Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) last September with a remit to improve the San-Francisco group’s brand and reputation.

In his brief spell, though, Jones has had to contend with a string of accusation fired at Uber ranging from sexual harassment, the use of a programme to evade law enforcement efforts, a lawsuit alleging theft of intellectual property from Google’s autonomous car unit, Waymo, and the testing of self-driving cars without a permit.

Jones said: ““It is now clear . . . that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber,”

Earlier this month, Uber began to look for a chief operating officer (COO) to help run the company alongside chief executive Travis Kalanick.

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