Frozen Heats Up The Box Office

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Frozen_4As the long Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day week­end winds to a close, Disney’s Frozen is freez­ing out the com­pe­ti­tion. Plac­ing sec­ond for the extended week­end at the box office, both first place The Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire and Frozen beat the pre­vi­ous Thanks­giv­ing box office record holder, Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows Part 2. Within its own lit­tle world, Frozen blew away every pre­vi­ous record for an ani­mated film open­ing from Dis­ney. The ani­mated musi­cal grossed a gar­gan­tuan $26.9 mil­lion on Fri­day (this after earn­ing $26.3 mil­lion on Wednes­day and Thurs­day). The film will end at about $68 mil­lion over the week­end frame, which would give it about $97 mil­lion after its first five days in wide release.

Disney’s pre­vi­ous best open­ing for an ani­mated film was last year’s Wreck-It Ralph, which came in at $49M. 2010’s Tan­gled opened in the same Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day time­frame with a $48.8M week­end and $68.7M extended week­end hol­i­day gross. Going back even fur­ther, The Princess and the Frog and a pre-twerk Miley Cyrus in Bolt barely opened to 24–26 mil­lion in early Decem­ber 2009 and mid-November 2008, respectively.

Peak­ing over at what Pixar is able to do, we see that the lit­tle CG stu­dio from Emeryville has always had a leg up on the par­ent com­pany. This summer’s Mon­sters Uni­ver­sity opened with an astound­ing 82 mil­lion and 2012’s Brave about the same as Frozen with 66 million.

The growth in Disney’s ani­mated box office is a wel­come sign to the stu­dio, and a direct result of John Lasseter’s great sense of the mar­ket. Frozen has trav­eled a trou­bled road to reach this mile­stone, with a direc­tor almost los­ing his job (instead of replac­ing Chris Buck out­right, Las­siter just added writer Jen­nifer Lee as co-director to clean up the movie as best she could). Jen­nifer Lee also wrote last years Wreck-It Ralph. Whether at Pixar or now at Dis­ney, John Las­seter really does seem to be able to deliver hits to the ani­ma­tion studios.

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