‘Frozen II’ Soars With $127 Million Opening, but Overall Box Office Still Lags Behind 2018 Pace

Disney sequel ranks among top 5 highest November and animated opening weekends

frozen 2

Disney has once again kicked the box office into high gear with the release of “Frozen II,” which earned an estimated $127 million opening from 4,440 screens. But even with that long-awaited revenue boost for movie theaters, the industry is still behind the record pace set last year.

This weekend’s other two releases, Sony/TriStar’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and STX’s “21 Bridges,” both did solid openings against their mid-level budgets, but “Frozen II” accounted for roughly 65% of all box office revenue generated this weekend. Total weekend grosses are set at $200 million — the highest they’ve been in a month — but that is still behind the $211 million total earned by this same weekend last year, meaning that annual domestic totals will remain roughly 6.4% behind last year’s pace, as the trend of Disney being the only studio to replicate its 2018 success continues.

While “Frozen II” hasn’t had quite as strong reception as the first “Frozen,” reaction to it is still positive with a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score and 4.5/5 on Postrak. It should be well on its way to a $400 million domestic run, especially with many families waiting to see the film during Thanksgiving weekend. The film stands among the top 5 opening weekends for both animated and November releases and has the largest opening of any animated film released outside the summer.

Overseas, “Frozen II” opened No.1 in all 37 markets it was released in and grossed $223 million, including $53 million in China and $31.5 million in Korea. That gives the film a new global animated record opening of $350 million, putting it well on pace to become Disney’s 24th $1 billion release.

Thanks to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney also has a 1-2 finish on the charts this weekend, as “Ford v Ferrari” took the No. 2 spot with $15.5 million in its second weekend. The Chernin-produced racing biopic now has a total of $57.4 million domestic after 10 days in theaters.

In third is “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is meeting box office projections with a $13.5 million opening from 3,235 screens. Reception has been overwhelmingly strong with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score and an A from CinemaScore audience polls. Combine that with a likely Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks, and the pieces are in place for a long, steady theatrical run for this Mister Rogers biopic.

“21 Bridges” is fourth with a $9.2 million opening from 2,665 screens. The film, which had a $33 million budget co-financed by MVM Studios and Huayi Brothers with STX, had a B+ on CinemaScore and a 45% Rotten Tomatoes score. Lionsgate’s “Midway” and Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” are in a near-tie for fifth, each grossing an estimated $4.7 million in their third weekend.

Down in eighth is Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels,” which bombed last weekend with an $8.35 million opening and fell to $3.1 million in its second weekend for a 10-day total of just $14 million against a $48 million opening.

Finally, Lionsgate held early screenings for Rian Johnson’s murder mystery film “Knives Out,” grossing $2 million from 936 screens. The film opens this Wednesday and is projected to earn a $25 million 5-day opening against a $40 million budget. Universal’s “Queen & Slim” will also open during the holiday weekend, with trackers projecting a $12 million 5-day launch against a reported $20 million budget.