'Frozen 2' soars with $127 million opening, but box office still lags behind 2018 pace

Disney has once again kicked the box office into high gear with the release of “Frozen II,” which earned an estimated $127 million opening from 4,440 screens. But even with that long-awaited revenue boost for movie theaters, the industry is still behind the record pace set last year.

This weekend’s other two releases, Sony/TriStar’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and STX’s “21 Bridges,” both did solid openings against their mid-level budgets, but “Frozen II” accounted for roughly 65% of all box office revenue generated this weekend. Total weekend grosses are set at $200 million — the highest they’ve been in a month — but that total is still behind the $211 million total earned in this same weekend last year, meaning that annual domestic totals will remain roughly 6.4% behind last year’s pace as the trend of Disney being the only studio to replicate its 2018 success continues.

While “Frozen II” hasn’t had quite as strong reception as the first “Frozen,” it is still positive with a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score and 4.5/5 on Postrak. It should be well on its way to a $400 million domestic run, especially with many families waiting to see the film during Thanksgiving weekend. The film stands among the top 5 opening weekends for both animated and November releases and has the largest opening of any animated film released outside the summer.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Ryan Michelle Bathe and Sterling K. Brown attend the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Gracie Teefey and Selena Gomez attend the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Kristen Bell attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Idina Menzel attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Evan Rachel Wood attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Audrina Patridge attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Bronx Wentz, Evan Ross, Ashlee Simpson, and Jagger Snow Ross attend the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Beverly Mitchell attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Harper Renn Smith and Tiffani Thiessen attend the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Tobie Windham attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Teddi Mellencamp attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Busy Philipps attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Martha Plimpton attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Josh Gad attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Veronica Merrell and Vanessa Merrell attend the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Rachel Matthews attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Emma Hunton attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Eris Baker attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Alisha Marie attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Jordana Brewster attends the Premiere of Disney's "Frozen 2" at Dolby Theatre on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
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Overseas, “Frozen II” opened No.1 in all 37 markets it was released in and grossed $223 million, including $53 million in China and $31.5 million in Korea. That gives the film a new global animated record opening of $350 million, putting it well on pace to become Disney’s 24th $1 billion release.

Thanks to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney also has a 1-2 finish on the charts this weekend as “Ford v Ferrari” took the No. 2 spot with $15.5 million in its second weekend. The Chernin-produced racing biopic now has a total of $57.4 million domestic after 10 days in theaters.

In third is “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is meeting box office projections with a $13.5 million opening from 3,235 screens. Reception has been overwhelmingly strong with a 96% RT score and an A from CinemaScore audience polls. Combine that with a likely Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks, and the pieces are in place for a long, steady theatrical run for this Mister Rogers biopic.

“21 Bridges” is fourth with a $9.2 million opening from 2,665 screens. The film, which had a $33 million budget co-financed by MVM Studios and Huayi Brothers with STX, had a B+ on CinemaScore and a 45% Rotten Tomatoes score. Lionsgate’s “Midway” and Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” are in a near-tie for fifth, each grossing an estimated $4.7 million in their third weekend.

More to come…

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