The Big Chill: ‘Frozen II’ Has Massive Debut

If it felt a bit colder in theaters around the world this weekend, you can probably lay the blame on Elsa and Anna.

Frozen II, the long-awaited sequel to the Disney 2013 blockbuster Frozen, swept into theaters worldwide this weekend and was rewarded with big opening numbers.

Landing in 4,400 theaters in North America theaters Thursday night beginning at 6pm, the Jennifer Lee/Chris Buck-directed sequel pocketed a massive $127 million for its first three days. In comparison to the $93.5 million pocketed by the original Frozenon its first weekend of wide release, that is a healthy spike of nearly 35% in business.

Frozen II accounted for nearly 70% of the top ten box office business this weekend.

Review-wise, Frozen II scored solid notices from the critics, even if they weren’t quite as strong as ones for the previous feature. Whereas the original scored a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 74/100 on Metacritic, F2 scored a 75% RT approval and a 65/100 on Metacritic. Giving their feedback to CinemaScore, opening weekend audiences loved what they saw. They gave the new Frozen the same grade they gave the old one: “A-.”

Overseas, Olaf and pals delivered a massive $223.2 million this weekend. The top five markets for the sequel were China ($53 million), South Korea ($31.5 million), Japan ($18.2 million), the United Kingdom ($17.8 million) and Germany with $15 million. With $350 million in the global bank after only three days, it’s a safe bet to say that Frozen II should have no problem joining the billion-dollar club by the end of its run.

After taking the checkered flag last week, Fox/Disney’s Ford v. Ferrari downshifted 49% to land in second place with $16 million from 3,528 screens. The ten-day total for the acclaimed James Mangold drama is $58 million. Ford v. Ferrari should be able to cruise to the $100 million club by the end of its run, giving Fox a desperately needed box office victory following a year of pricey misfires. Ford v. Ferrari has also earned $45.8 million internationally.

Arriving in third place was the second debut of the weekend, Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodwith an estimated $13.5 million from 3,235 screens. The drama, which stars Tom Hanks as beloved television icon Fred Rogers, scored glowing reviews from the critics: 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 80/100 on Metacritic (CinemaScore didn’t have a grade listed for the film). While the opening numbers for the PG-rated feature weren’t huge, word-of-mouth could keep it going over the next several weeks to turn it into a moderate hit. Possible year-end awards recognition could push it even higher.

Shooting blanks in fourth place was the debut of STX’s 21 Bridges with an estimated $9.3 million from 2,665 screens. Reviews were largely negative for the R-rated police thriller starring Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther): 45% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 50/100 on Metacritic,  but ticket buyers were okay with the film. They gave it a “B+” CinemaScore grade.

Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate’s Midway with $4.7 million from 2,627 venues. Down 45% in week three, Midway has fought its way to $43 million in domestic ticket sales and an additional $38.6 million internationally. Midway should fly off into the box office sunset with approximately $50-55 million in the bank.

  1. Playing with Fire (Paramount) $4.615 million (-45%); $31.6 million
  2. The Good Liar (Warner) $3.375 million (-40%); $11.7 million
  3. Charlie’s Angels (2019) (Sony) $3.1 million (-62%); $14 million
  4. Last Christmas (Universal) $3 million (-53%); $27.7 million
  5. Joker (Warner) $2.8 million (-47%); $327 million

For the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, two new films enter the marketplace: Lionsgate’s Knives Out and Universal’s Queen & Slim. While nothing is going to come close to Frozen II, the acclaimed Knives Out should strike a cord with adult audiences over the long holiday frame.

Have a safe, and happy, Thanksgiving!

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