Joker aside, the box office has suffered through a bit of a cold spell since, oh, The Lion King was roaring. Sequels underperformed. Durable franchises showed their age. Last weekend, according to Box Office Mojo, was one of the weakest of the year. And in a year of weak weekends, that’s saying something.
With that sort of deep chill sinking into cineplexes, perhaps it’s a bit ironic that Frozen II brought the heat.
Disney’s wildly anticipated sequel to the game-changing Frozen torched the North American box office for an estimated $127 million, crowning Elsa and Anna as this November’s uncontested queens. That’s the fifth-biggest November opening ever, according to Box Office Mojo, trailing just The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and a trio of Twilight movies. Overseas moviegoers plunked down the equivalent of another $223.2 million, giving Frozen II $350 million in cold, hard cash.
Here’s a fun comparison that illustrates just how weak the box office has been and just how strong Frozen II is by comparison: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil also features a pair of well-known Disney characters. It’s been in theaters for six weeks now, and it won two box-office weekend crowns in its own right (one for each of Maleficent’s horns, apparently). In those six weeks, it has collected $108.9 million domestically—nearly $20 million less than Frozen II did in its first three days. Forget snowmen: You wanna build a Swiss bank account? Maybe Elsa can loan you a little cash.
Ford v Ferrari, last week’s champ, might’ve been lapped by a talking snowman and a not-really-but-kinda-talking reindeer, but it still had enough horsepower to finish second. The star-studded racing drama banked a $16 million purse, pushing its overall earnings to just about $58 mil.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a delightful, truth-fiction hybrid take on Mister Rogers, finished third with $13.5 million. That’s right about what Sony thought the pic would make, I’m told, though I’m sure Sony would’ve loved to see the Tom Hanks-fronted film make more. No matter, Beautiful Day. I like you just the way you are.