‘Frozen 2’ eclipses box office expectations, setting records

Disney's "Frozen 2"
A scene from Disney’s “Frozen 2.”

Disney’s highly anticipated “Frozen 2" won the box office this weekend, opening in first place with $127 million, above analyst projections of $115 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Internationally, the film earned $223.2 million in 37 markets for a global cumulative of $350 million, making it the biggest opening ever for Walt Disney Animation Studios and the No. 3 animated debut of all time.

It is the biggest opening since the studio’s “Lion King” launched with $191.8 million in July and sets a new record for an animated picture released outside the summer movie season.

“The strategy of opening ‘Frozen 2' the weekend before Thanksgiving gives Disney’s latest hit a nice, long runway to skate perfectly into the extended holiday weekend and then have long-term playability,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore. “It is perfectly positioned to play well into 2020.”

Even with Disney’s continued success, the overall box office continues to lag, down 6.8% versus the same weekend a year ago. “Frozen 2" more than doubled the opening of another Disney sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” with $56.2 million. But the rest of this year’s top 10 grossed $87.1 million less this weekend than the corresponding films in 2018. The year-to-date total now stands at $9.9 billion, 7% below last year.

“Frozen 2" picks up three years after the events of the original, rejoining Elsa, Anna and Olaf as they seek the origin of Elsa’s magical powers. It was well-received with an A- CinemaScore and a 75% “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.


The sequel comes six years after the original opened with $93.6 million on its way to $1.27 billion in global receipts. That film inspired millions of dollars in merchandising revenue and currently stands as the highest-grossing animated movie globally, not adjusting for inflation.

In a distant second, Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” added $16 million in its second weekend (a 49% drop) for a cumulative $58 million. Globally, the film stands at $103.8 million.

At No. 3, Sony and TriStar Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” opened with $13.5 million, just under analyst projections of $14 million.

The film stars Tom Hanks as iconic children’s television show host Fred Rogers in a story by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Directed by Marielle Heller, the film also features Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper.

“Beautiful Day” earned positive critical response with a 96% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is expected to draw interest through awards season.

In fourth place, STX Entertainment’s “21 Bridges” opened with $9.3 million, below analyst projections of $12 million to $14 million.

Starring and co-produced by Chadwick Boseman, the film follows an NYPD detective on the hunt for a pair of cop killers who uncovers mass corruption within his precinct in the process. “Avengers: Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo co-produced the film, which also stars Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch and J.K. Simmons.

It earned mixed reception with a B+ CinemaScore and a 45% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five, Lionsgate’s “Midway” added $4.7 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $43.1 million.

At No. 6, Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” earned an additional $4.6 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $31.6 million.

In seventh place, Warner Bros.’ “The Good Liar” added $3.4 million in its second weekend (a 40% drop) for a cumulative $11.8 million.

“Charlie’s Angels,” at No. 8, saw an additional $3.2 million in its second weekend (a terrible 62% drop) for a cumulative $13.9 million.

In ninth place, Universal’s “Last Christmas” added $3 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $27.8 million.

Rounding out the top 10, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” earned $2.8 million more in its eighth weekend for a cumulative $326.9 million.

In limited release, Focus Features’ “Dark Waters” opened in four locations to $110,000 for a per-screen average of $27,467.

Starring Mark Ruffalo, the legal thriller is based on the real-life story of attorney Rob Bilott, who took on the DuPont chemical company to expose the effects of the harmful chemical PFOA. It earned a 91% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Amazon expanded Shia LeBeouf’s “Honey Boy” into 44 locations in its third weekend (up from 17) to $269,028 for a per-screen average of $6,120 and a cumulative $939,676.

A24 expanded “Waves” into 21 locations in its second weekend (up from four in its debut) to $168,760 for a per-screen average of $8,036 and a cumulative $335,991.

On Wednesday, Universal opens the drama “Queen & Slim” and Lionsgate reveals the mystery comedy “Knives Out,” which has already taken in $2 million in sold-out early-access screenings Friday night.