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Princess Anna and Queen Elsa — and the power of sisterhood — thawed hearts around the globe in their triumphant return to the big screen over the weekend.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ music-infused Frozen 2 opened to a record $130 million in the U.S. and a fiery $228.2 million overseas from 37 markets for a massive worldwide start of $358.2 million, the No. 1 global debut ever for an animated title, not adjusted for inflation (many family films have a staggered rollout offshore), according to revised weekend numbers released early Monday.
The new tallies are ahead of Sunday’s estimates, which had showed the pic debuting to $127 million domestically and $350.2 million globally. Frozen 2 overperformed everywhere, and particularly overseas.
Furthering Disney’s domination, Frozen 2 went a long way in reviving the November box office, where ticket sales had tumbled 27 percent year-over-year after recent misses Terminator: Dark Fate and Doctor Sleep, among other titles that disappointed.
Frozen 2, along with other new offerings bowing over the weekend, is positioned to take advantage of the lucrative Thanksgiving corridor.
The female-skewing movie set a new benchmark for an animated film opening in November — in addition to scoring the third-best domestic start of all time for any animated pic behind 2018’s Incredibles 2 ($182.7 million) and 2016’s Finding Dory ($135.1 million), not adjusted for inflation. It’s the first time an animated title launching outside of summer crossed the $100 million mark in its start. Femmes made up nearly 60 percent of the U.S. audience; families made up 70 percent of Friday’s ticket buyers, but by Saturday the audience broadened out.
Once again directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (who doubles as chief creative officer of Disney Animation Studios), Frozen 2 also smashed numerous records offshore, including landing the best opening of all time for an animated pic in the U.K. ($17.8 million) and France ($13.4 million), as well as the biggest ever for a Pixar or Disney Animation title in China ($53 million), Japan ($18.2 million), Germany ($14.9 million) and Spain ($5.8 million). The film also boasted the third-biggest industry opening of any movie in South Korea ($31.5 million).
The debut performance of the sequel underscores the lasting influence of the original Frozen. The 2013 family film, which launched on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, set a holiday animated record with a five-day domestic gross of $93 million, including $67 million for the three-day weekend. The pic went on to earn an astounding $1.28 billion at the global box office to become the top-grossing animated film of all time, as well as one of the most successful musicals ever, not adjusted for inflation.
“Making a sequel to Frozen was a high bar to set for yourself,” says Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff. “The filmmakers did an outstanding job delivering this next chapter. It’s emotional and it has something for everyone.”
Frozen 2 earned an A- from audiences, compared to an A+ for Frozen. Despite critics seemingly not liking the new movie as much as the first, it didn’t seem to diminish filmgoers’ interest.
In Frozen 2, Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel reprise their voice roles of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa, respectively. Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana also return from the first film, while new castmembers include Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown.
Meanwhile, Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — starring Tom Hanks as the late Fred Rogers — bowed to $13.1 million. The film, which earned an A CinemaScore, is counting on strong legs through Thanksgiving and on throughout awards season.
Marielle Heller directed the critically acclaimed feature, which is not described as a biopic or traditional biographical drama. Instead the feel-good movie traces the real-life friendship between journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) and Rogers.
Beautiful Day came in third behind Frozen 2 and holdover Ford v Ferrari, which drove to a sophomore gross of $16 million.
Ford v Ferrari‘s 10-day domestic total stands at $58 million, while it earned another $14.7 million overseas from 43 markets for a foreign tally of $45.8 million and a $103.8 million cume. The film’s decline of 49 percent is due in part to the fact that it lost Imax and premium format screens. (Imax collected $18 million for Frozen 2, a record for an animated title.)
The Russo brothers-produced 21 Bridges, a cop thriller starring Chadwick Boseman, bowed at No. 4 with $9.1 million. Internationally, it opened to $2.7 million from 20 markets for global start of $11.9 million.
From STXfilms, MWM Studios and Huayi Brothers Pictures, the R-rated pic was challenged by mediocre reviews. Audiences, however, liked 21 Bridges better, giving it a B+ CinemaScore.
Roland Emmerich’s Midway rounded out the top five with $4.7 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $45.1 million. Lionsgate is handling the World War II epic in the U.S., a bright spot for the film, and the U.K.
Sony’s troubled Charlie’s Angels tumbled a steep 62 percent in its second weekend to $3.2 million for an eighth-place finish and a domestic total of $13.9 million. Overseas, it earned an additional $4.6 million for a disappointing foreign tally of $29.6 million and $43.5 million globally.
Charlie’s Angels was even topped by Warner Bros.’ The Good Liar, another November miss that took in $3.4 million in its sophomore outing for a domestic total of $11.8 million.
At the specialty box office, Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters posted an opening weekend location average of $27,500 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins star in the well-reviewed whistleblower drama from Focus Features and Participant Media.
Greenwich Entertainment opened Citizen K at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles. Alex Gibney’s latest documentary grossed $10,250.
On Wednesday, two new films open nationwide in advance of Thanksgiving: Universal and Makeready’s romantic thriller Queen & Slim and Lionsgate and MRC’s murder mystery Knives Out.
Directed by Rian Johnson, the star-studded Knives Out tested the waters on Friday and Saturday as it held sneak screenings at 936 cinemas across the country, grossing a promising $2 million.
MRC is the studio behind Knives Out, and shares a parent company, Valence Media, with The Hollywood Reporter.
Nov. 25, 8:40 a.m. Updated with revised numbers for Frozen 2.
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