Box Office: Disney’s FROZEN 2 has the biggest opening weekend since the summer

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!

As expected, it took Walt Disney Pictures to save an ailing box office from itself i.e. the Disney+ streaming service, as its anticipated animated sequel Frozen 2 opened #1 with an estimated $127 million, making it the first movie to surpass Joker‘s $96.2 million opening during the fall movie season.

Featuring the returning voices of Kristen BellIdina Manzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad with new characters voiced by Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown, the movie grossed $8.5 million in Thursday previews, slightly less than 2016’s Finding Dory, before opening officially in 4,400 theaters on Friday. It won Friday with ease, taking in $41.8 million. Frozen 2‘s $127 million opening — which is just slightly less than my own original prediction (which I actually upped on Thursday evening) — will make it the biggest opening for a non-Pixar animated film from Disney,

Just for a little comparison, Frozen 2 made more this weekend than all the #1s put together going back to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and it had the biggest opening weekend since Disney’s The Lion King over the summer. That one opened with $275 million and has made $543 million total domestically. With the usually-lucrative Thanksgiving weekend next week, Frozen 2 stands a good chance at making $300 million or more as it continues to bringing family business through the holidays.

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Frozen 2 received respectable reviews with a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the 90S% Fresh for its predecessor, which went on to make over $400 million domestic and win the Oscar for Animated Feature.  Audiences were also a little colder about the sequel, giving it an “A-” CinemaScore, compared to the “A+” of its predecessor.

Frozen 2 made another $223.2 million overseas this weekend with China pulling in $53 million on its own, followed by Korea with $31.5 million and Japan with $18.2 million. The animated hit has grossed $350.2 million in just three days.  That’s actually a global record for an animated film, but it also helped push Disney over the $3 billion mark for the year, and that’s even before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens next month.

James Mangold‘s Ford v. Ferrari, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, dropped to second place with $16 million, down 49% from its own opening weekend with just under $58 million grossed domestically so far. It has grossed another $45.8 million overseas, so it has passed the $100 million mark globally, but it’s still fairly early in its run.

The next new opener of the weekend was Sony/Tristar Pictures’ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Fred (“Mister”) Rogers, which opened in third place with an estimated $13.5 million in 3,235 theaters or $4,173 per theater. Not bad but definitely worse than most expected, including myself. Sony didn’t report a CinemaScore, but the reviews have been excellent since the movie debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. Some think that Hanks might be up for another Oscar nomination for his performance.

The STXfilms police thriller 21 Bridges, starring Chadwick Boseman, which had already been delayed from September, opened weakly in fourth place with $9.3 million, also less than expectations. Co-starring Sienna Miller and J.K. Simmons, it came into the weekend with middling reviews, and STX opened it in a moderate 2,665 theaters. After making about $700,000 in Thursday previews and $3.3 million on Friday, 21 Bridges opened in fourth place with an estimated $9.3 million or $3,490 per theater, slightly less than my own prediction. Audiences gave the movie a respectable “B+” CinemaScore.

Not another movie in the rest of this weekend’s top 10 made more than $10 million with Roland Emmerich‘s Midway dropping to fifth place with $4.7 million (down 45%) with $43.1 million grossed so far. It was followed in sixth place with the John Cena family comedy Playing with Fire from Paramount, which also dropped 45% to make $4.6 million this weekend.

Sony’s Charlie’s Angels had such an enormous 62% drop from its opening weekend that it ended up falling behind Warner Bros’ The Good Liar, which took seventh place with $3.4 million compared to the Angels’ $3.2 million. It’s dead, Jim, with less than $14 million domestic in ten days.

Universal’s Last Christmas also took a massive plunge in the weekend before when it could have started to pick up holiday business, but Universal decided to pull it from 1,000 theaters, so the holiday rom-com is lucky to have brought in the $3 million it made to bring its total to $27.8 million.

Focus Features released filmmaking auteur Todd Haynes‘ political drama Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo, into four theaters in New York and L.A. where it took in $110,000, a decent but not great $27,500 per theater.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Frozen 2 Walt Disney Pictures $127 million N/A $127 million
2 1 Ford v. Ferrari 20th Century Fox $16 million -49% $58 million
3 New A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony/Tristar $13.5 million N/A $13.5 million
4 New 21 Bridges STXfilms $9.3 million N/A $9.3 million
5 2 Midway Lionsgate $4.7 million -45% $43.1 million
6 4 Playing with Fire Paramount $4.6 million -45% $31.6 million
7 7 The Good Liar Warner Bros. $3.4 million -41% $11.8 million
8 3 Charlie’s Angels Warner Bros. $3.2 million -63% $13.9 million
9 5 Last Christmas Universal $3 million -53% $27.8 million
10 8 Joker Warner Bros. $2.8 million  -47% $326.9 million

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $185 million, but since last year this weekend was Thanksgiving, we can’t really use that as a comparison. If we put this weekend against the weekend before Thanksgiving last year (as covered last week), things don’t look so bad. At least this weekend, things finally picked up.

Check back on Wednesday for my weekly Box Office Preview, covering the Thanksgiving releases: Rian Johnson‘s ensemble comedy whodunit Knives Out, plus the crime-drama Queen and Slim.

2 COMMENTS

  1. No surprise FROZEN II is a hit, considering that it’s showing on 5 or 6 screens of every multiplex.Of course, if I had a young daughter, I’d probably have to sit through it, too.

    BEAUTIFUL DAY and 21 BRIDGES both look interesting.

  2. I liked BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. A lot. A perfect antidote to our era of toxic politics, toxic fandom and toxic social media.

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