‘Frozen 2’ heats up box office with $127M opening weekend

NEW YORK (AP) — Six years after "Frozen" kicked up a pop-culture blizzard, the sequel to Elsa,
Anna and Olaf’s adventures snowed-in the box office with an estimated $127 million debut domestically
and $350.2 million worldwide, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The opening for the Walt Disney Co.’s "Frozen 2" buried several records. It’s the
highest-grossing debut ever for any animated film globally. It marks a new high in the U.S. and Canada
for an animated movie released outside of the summer season. And it’s the largest opening for any Walt
Disney Animation Studios release.
Disney opted for the week ahead of Thanksgiving to open "Frozen 2," meaning it will get a
significant second week bump from kids out of school. The first "Frozen" opened over
Thanksgiving, earning $93 million in five days and $67 million for the three-day weekend.
The original, though, quickly grew into a sensation, remaining in the top 10 at the box office for 17
weeks and ultimately grossing $1.27 billion. Propelled in part by the hit song "Let it Go,"
"Frozen" begat a flurry of merchandizing, untold numbers of Elsa dresses and a Broadway
musical. It won two Academy Awards, for best animated feature and original song.
Matching that total gross won’t be easy sledding, but "Frozen 2" has a head start. Cathleen
Taff, distribution chief for Disney, granted there’s a "high bar" set by "Frozen,"
but she’s confident of the film’s enormous appeal.
"We can’t open to a number this big without everybody coming out to see it," said Taff.
"We’re looking forward to a good run through the holidays given kids are going to start getting out
of school this next week."
Reviews and audience reaction have been good for "Frozen 2," but not as strong as they were for
the original. The CinemaScore was A- for "Frozen 2," whereas "Frozen" yielded an A+.
Critics were also a little less taken with the sequel: 75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 90% for
the original.
But scores were still very high, including a 93% Rotten Tomatoes audience rating. Crowds were largely
female (59%) but not extremely so. And audiences came out in larger numbers than analysts forecast,
especially overseas.
The film brings back much of the talent behind the 2013 original, including the voices of Idina Menzel
(Elsa), Kristen Bell (Anna) and Josh Gad (Olaf). Also returning are songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez
and Robert Lopez, though the music this time hasn’t be quite as enthusiastically received. And it’s
again directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who’s now the chief creative officer at Disney Animation.

"Frozen 2" helped thaw a frigid November box office. The last three weeks have seen a string of
films rooted in decades-old intellectual property fizzle, including Warner Bros.’ "Doctor
Sleep," Paramount Pictures’ "Terminator: Dark Fate" and Sony Pictures’ "Charlie’s
But Elsa could do only so much to move the needle. The weekend was actually down 7% from the same frame
last year, according to data firm Comscore. In 2018, there were simply more big movies in the
marketplace, including "Ralph Breaks the Internet," "Creed II" and "Fantastic
Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald."
Last week’s top film, "Ford v Ferrari" slipped 49% in its second week to a distant second with
$16 million. James Mangold’s film, also a Disney release (courtesy of the studio’s acquisition of 20th
Century Fox), has grossed $103.8 million worldwide thus far. Starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, the
movie has also joined this season’s sped-up Oscar race. (The Academy Awards will be held Feb. 9 this
Marielle Heller’s Mister Rogers drama "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," starring Tom Hanks
and Matthew Rhys, is also in the Oscar mix. It opened in third with $13.5 million. That was roughly on
target for the Sony Pictures release, which cost about $25 million to make. It, too, should be
positioned to play well through the holidays.
Less successful was the crime thriller "21 Bridges," starring Chadwick Boseman as a police
detective who puts Manhattan on lockdown for a manhunt. Up against steep competition for adult
audiences, "21 Bridges" raised $9.2 million in tolls for STXfilms, a so-so result for a film
that cost $33 million to produce. The film is produced by Anthony and Joseph Russo, whose last movie as
directors, "Avengers: Endgame," did slightly better.
Todd Haynes’ legal thriller "Dark Waters" opened in four theaters with a strong per-theater
average of $27,467. The Focus Features release, starring Mark Ruffalo, is based on a 2016 New York Times
Magazine article about a corporate attorney who sued the Dupont chemical company over the health and
environmental effects of a "forever chemical" used by Dupont.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore.
Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final
domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Frozen," $127 million ($223.2 million international).
2. "Ford v Ferrari," $16 million ($14.7 million international).
3. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," $13.5 million.
4. "21 Bridges," $9.3 million ($2.7 million international).
5. "Midway," $4.7 million ($5.4 million international).
6. "Playing With Fire," $4.6 million.
7. "The Good Liar," $3.8 million.
8. "Charlie’s Angels," $3.2 million ($4.6 million international).
9. "Last Christmas," $3 million ($6.7 million international).
10. "Joker," $2.8 million ($7.6 million international).
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP