Frozen 2’ melts away fears of franchise fatigue with record-breaking $130m opening

JUMPCUT’s cold shoulder to the Box Office is no more, as Disney’s ‘Frozen 2’ ignites with a $130m weekend – the biggest ever for an animation in November. Although it was a mixed time at the movies for other wide releases this weekend in ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and ’21 Bridges’, as well as in recent weeks with a multitude of publicised flops, ‘Frozen 2’ more than made up for these tepid performances, with the 4th biggest animated opening of all time. Maybe we should go on a hiatus more often…

How did the new releases get on?

Frozen 2’s $130.3m opening comfortably topped the charts this weekend, leaving a frightening $115m gap between itself and ‘Ford v. Ferrari’ in 2nd place. Although it’s an opening in-line with industry expectations, we shouldn’t downplay the magnitude of this performance: it’s massive. It nearly doubles the previous November animated opening record of $70.5m, set by ‘The Incredibles’ back in 2004, stands as the 4th biggest animated opening ever, and is sandwiched between ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1’ and ‘Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2’ as the 5th biggest November opening ever.

It comes off the back of recent industry chatter surrounding a potential franchise fatigue. In particular, the poor showings from ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ ($29m opening, $185m+ budget), ‘Doctor Sleep’ ($14.1m opening, $45m+ budget), and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ ($8.6m opening, $55m budget) in the last few weeks meant that ‘Frozen 2’ was always going to come under more scrutiny, as ‘Toy Story 4’ did in the summer, whose $120m start came after the disappointments of ‘Men in Black: International’, ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’, and ‘Godzilla 2’.

Frozen 2’s success doesn’t invalidate the criticism of Hollywood’s desperate rehashing of tired properties, but instead paints a clearer picture as to why certain IPs do well, and why others don’t. While the continuation of tired franchises (‘Terminator’, ‘Men in Black’), unnecessary extensions to beloved blockbusters (‘Charlie’s Angels’), and a multitude of other factors cause an increasing number of propertied movies to flop at the BO, ‘Frozen 2’ comes off the back of the 2nd biggest animated movie in global history. ‘Frozen’s $1.27bn actually held top spot until this summer’s ‘The Lion King’ – success was seemingly guaranteed for Anna, Elsa and the rest.

And not just in the States. ‘Frozen 2’s heating up across the globe, with a $228m earned from all major international markets by Sunday night. Its $358m global opening is the biggest for any animated film ever, obliterating ‘Toy Story 4’s $241m. Noteworthy figures come from South Korea ($31.5m) – the 3rd highest opening in the country’s history, China ($53.2m) – the biggest Disney animated opening, and the U.K. ($17.8m) – the biggest animated opening over here.

Other countries, such as Japan ($18.2m) also saw big openings, with Japan being of special interest considering the film’s predecessor is the country’s 3rd biggest grossing film ever, with $249m.

Eyes now turn to the future, as ‘Frozen 2’ enters into the (relative) unknown. The Buck & Lee-directed bombshell should have no problem lasting the long winter at the Box Office, with the film’s A- on Cinemascore indicating a pleased viewership and a longer run. Beating out the original’s $400m domestic, and $1.27bn global grosses is a realistic target, while the half-billion mark is potentially the next major milestone for this unstoppable franchise.

It wasn’t quite the same for ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’, although the Mr. Rogers biopic still opened strongly at the Box Office with $13.3m. The start comes after universal acclaim from critics (96% on RT) and audiences (93%), and opens bigger than recent Tom Hanks-fronted PG biopics, like ‘Saving Mr. Banks‘ ($9.3m), which went onto earn $83.3m domestically after its Christmas release.

It also marks the 2nd film in the space of a year to centre the TV-icon Fred Rogers, after last year’s Independent Spirit Award-winning documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ earned $22.8m globally, becoming the 12th biggest documentary ever worldwide. An even bigger performance is expected here for the biographical drama, with expectations of the film easily eclipsing its $25m budget.

This can’t be said for ’21 Bridges’ however, as the police-thriller could only muster $9.3m by Sunday night. Produced by the Russo Brothers and starring Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman, it comes with a now-chunky $33m budget, with only a B+ on Cinemascore as backup.


How did the others do?

Ford v. Ferrari’ continued its strong run with $15.7m over the weekend, for a running domestic total of $57.7m. It marks the 1st relative domestic success for Fox after the Disney takeover, and could potentially become the studio’s only film of the year to reach the $100m mark if all continues.

Warner Bros’ ‘The Good Liar’, starring Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, and Russell Tovey, battled ‘Charlie’s Angels’ this weekend, earning $3m, while the latter continued its hellish run, bringing in just $3.2m.

Other notables from the weekend

  • Frozen 2’s $130m opening officially leaves Disney clear of the $3bn domestic mark in 2019. No studio has ever reached the figure quicker, and it beats Disney’s previous record in 2018, where they reached $3bn by December.
  • Frozen 2’s opening makes it only the 2nd Disney film to reach the top 10 biggest openings in November list. The other is ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ ($122.7m).
  • Ford v. Ferrari’ is now the 4th biggest live-action racing movie in domestic history, behind only ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’ ($66m), ‘Days of Thunder’ ($82.7m), and ‘Talladega Nights’ ($148.2m).
  • Warner Bros’ ‘Joker’ is now the 5th biggest R-rated film ever domestically, overtaking ‘Deadpool 2’ with $326.9m.


Rank Last Week Rank Film STUDIO Total U.S. Gross Weekend Gross Weekend drop JUMPCUT’s prediction Week number
1 New! Frozen 2 Disney $130.3m $130.3m 1
2 1 Ford v. Ferrari Fox-Disney $57.7m $15.7m -50.0% 2
3 New! A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony $13.3m $13.3m 1
4 New! 21 Bridges STX Entertainment $9.3m $9.3m 1
5 2 Midway Lionsgate $43m $4.6m -45.4% 3
6 4 Playing With Fire Paramount $31.5m $4.5m -45.8% 3
7 3 Charlie’s Angels Sony $14m $3.2m -61.2% 2
8 5 Last Christmas Universal $27.9m $3.1m -52.2% 3
9 7 The Good Liar Warner Bros $11.4m $3m -46.1% 2
10 8 Joker Warner Bros $326.9m $2.7m -48.5% 8

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