Finally, November has scored a major blockbuster, even though the month is almost over. After a string of big-budget duds like ‘Doctor Sleep’ and ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’, leave it to Disney to swoop in at the last minute to give the box office a rousing blast of cold air to wake things up. ‘Frozen 2’ made $130.7M in the US and Canada, and $350.2M worldwide, setting a new record for an animated film in November domestically, and the record for biggest animated debut period globally. Prior to its opening, projections for ‘Frozen 2’ were broad– $90M-$135M domestically, so it came up closer to the high end of those projections. $18M came from IMAX screenings.
‘Frozen 2’ now has the fifth highest-grossing November debut overall, falling behind ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ ($158M), ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ ($142.8M), ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2’ ($141M), and ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1’ ($138.1M). ‘Frozen 2’ replaces ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1’, which opened with $125M.
‘Frozen 2’ is a crowdpleaser, with exiting audiences giving it an A- CinemaScore (down a bit from the first ‘Frozen’s A+) and 4½ out of 5 stars via PostTrak. Critics have been mostly kind with its Rotten Tomatoes score a Certified Fresh 75%.
Thanks to its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney has the #1 and #2 movies of the weekend, with last week’s champ, ‘Ford V Ferrari’ still cruising along, earning another $16M. (That is considerably lower than ‘Frozen 2’s $130.7M!)
With ‘Frozen 2’s help, Disney may cross the $3 billion mark for the year. If that happens it will be the first time a single studio has made that much in one year, and that record should remain intact for quite some time, seeing as how there won’t be another ‘Avengers: Endgame’ anytime soon.
Sony’s Mr. Rogers-based, ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ cozied up at #3 with $13.1M. A large chunk of this movie’s potential audience– older women– was siphoned off by ‘Frozen 2′, but those that did turn out gave it 4 stars. (No CinemaScore.) Critics adore it with its RT score averaging 96%.
That meant bad news for this week’s other big release, ’21 Bridges,’ from STX Films and the Russo Brothers’ Gozie AGBO. Its RT score is 45%, so the reaction has been mixed-to-mediocre. Audiences have been more receptive, giving it a B+ CinemaScore and 4 stars. Older men are the primary target audience for movies like this, but that demographic has been pretty well-catered to in the last few weeks with films like ‘Ford V Ferrari’ and ‘Midway,’ so that may account for ’21 Bridges” rather weak opening.
- Frozen 2 (Disney) – $130.7M
- Ford V Ferrari (20th Century Fox/Disney) – $16M
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony) – $13.1M
- 21 Bridges (STX Films) – $9.3M
- Midway (Lionsgate) – $4.8M
Disney originally planned to open ‘Frozen 2’ on Thanksgiving and allow it to have the whole holiday weekend to roll into an avalanche, but when Disney saw that no other studios planned to open anything major on this weekend, it bumped it up. Even though ‘Frozen 2’ opened a bit early, it should still rake in a ton of business over Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend, what with all kids being out of school.
There are two big movies set to open– the hard to define ‘Knives Out’, and the weighty drama ‘Queen & Slim’. ‘Queen & Slim’ might be a little too heavy for Thanksgiving weekend, seeing as how it deals with race and police brutality. But we’ll see. The early reviews are strong.
The same goes for Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ which looks to be a quirky dark comedy. Jamie Lee Curtis heads up the all-star cast, which also includes Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield.
Neither ‘Knives Out’ nor ‘Queen & Slim’ are likely to dethrone ‘Frozen 2’, but check back to see how things go!