‘Frozen II’ Revives Box Office, Pushes Disney Past $3 Billion in 2019 Domestic Grosses

Sequel sets new record for non-summer animated releases

Frozen 2 Elsa
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney has once again reignited a sluggish box office with the release of “Frozen II,” which earned $42 million from 4,440 screens on Friday and is currently estimated to earn a staggering $125 million in its opening weekend.

Unadjusted for inflation, that stands as the fourth-highest domestic opening weekend for an animated film, sitting only behind this year’s remake of “The Lion King” ($191 million), last year’s “Incredibles 2” ($182 million) and 2016’s “Finding Dory” ($135 million). It is also on pace to become the first animated film with a $300 million-plus global opening, topping the $245.9 million opening of “Lion King” set back in July.

This opening for “Frozen II” pushes Disney past $3 billion in annual domestic grosses for the third time in studio and industry history. That total should blow by $3.5 billion by year’s end given that “Frozen II” should leg out well through the holiday season and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is still to come in December. While “Frozen II” hasn’t received as high marks as its 2013 predecessor, reception is still strong with 75% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- on CinemaScore.

Disney also has a de facto 1-2 finish on this weekend’s box office charts, as 20th Century Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” will take the No. 2 spot. The racing film is holding well against “Frozen II,” dropping 51% from its $31.4 million opening for an estimated $15.4 million second weekend and a 10-day estimated total of $57.4 million.

In third is Sony/TriStar’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is hitting the upper end of box office projections with an estimated $14 million opening from 3,235 screens. Sony is hoping that widespread affection for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and near-unanimous acclaim will help this crowd-pleaser endure at the box office against holiday blockbusters. Reception for “Beautiful Day” was stronger than “Frozen II” with an A on CinemaScore and a 96% RT score.

In fourth is STX’s “21 Bridges,” which is estimated to earn a solid $10 million opening from 2,665 screens after a $3.3 million Friday. As is customary for STX, this Chadwick Boseman cop thriller’s $33 million budget was co-financed, with Huayi Brothers and MWM Studios sharing costs. The film has a B+ on CinemaScore and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Completing the top 5 are Lionsgate’s “Midway” and Paramount’s “Playing With Fire,” each with an estimated $4.5-5 million third weekend, bringing the total for “Midway” to approximately $43 million and “Playing With Fire” to $31 million. That puts “Midway” past the estimated break-even point for Lionsgate, which is only distributing the film in the U.S. and U.K. while production was financed independently by director Roland Emmerich.

Outside the top 5, last weekend’s big flop, Sony/Columbia’s “Charlie’s Angels,” has fallen 63% from its poor $8.35 million opening, sitting in a near-tie for No. 8 with Universal’s “Last Christmas” with a $3.1 million weekend total. That gives Elizabeth Banks’ spy film a 10-day total of $13.1 million against a $48 million budget.