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‘Frozen 2’ Opens to $127 Million



“Frozen 2” was a bit of a gamble: Rarely do musical sequels succeed, and this movie was being released a whopping six years after the original.

“Frozen 2” was a surefire success: The original grossed over $1 billion worldwide, and this follow-up has been aggressively marketed by a studio that dominates the industry.

However it was framed, Disney’s “Frozen 2” proved its strength at the box office this weekend, opening to an estimated $127 million in domestic ticket sales. That is over 75 percent more than the original “Frozen” made during its first weekend in 2013 ($67.4 million, not adjusting for inflation), which had the advantage of being a Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Frozen 2” brought in an additional $223.2 million overseas this weekend, according to the studio.

“This is a sensational opening,” David A. Gross, a movie consultant, wrote in a report this weekend. “Audiences have shown wariness of sequels, including animation,” Gross added, referencing “Secret Life of Pets 2” and “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” both of which opened this year to weaker sales than their predecessors. Disney’s own “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” released last month, about a half decade after the original, also failed to match its forerunner. Not so with “Frozen 2.”

The original “Frozen” introduced audiences to the royal sisters Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), distinctive supporting characters like the bubbly snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and the movie’s megahit song, “Let it Go.” (All of its songs were written by the married duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.) “Frozen,” directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, drew praise for its focus on female self-reliance over romance, and won Oscars for best animated feature and best original song.

“Frozen 2” brings back Elsa, Anna and the rest of the ensemble. And again it is directed by Lee and Buck with songs by Anderson-Lopez and Lopez. It tells a story that centers on an adventure into an enchanted forest.

The new movie received a generally favorable reception from critics, if a less enthusiastic one than the original’s: “Frozen 2” currently holds a 75 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the original stands at 90 percent. In her review for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis called “Frozen 2” a “diverting, prettily animated musical.”

[Read our critic’s review of “Frozen 2.”]

“Frozen 2” was by far the main event at theaters this weekend (it made more than double the amount brought in by the rest of the top ten movies combined), but a pair of other brand-new releases were also in the top five.

Sony Pictures opened “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a drama in which Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers, to a respectable $13.5 million in ticket sales. And STX Films’s action movie “21 Bridges” opened to a solid $9.3 million in sales. That movie stars Chadwick Boseman as a Manhattan detective on a manhunt.

Those two movies landed in third and fourth place; neither could outpace 20th Century Fox’s racing drama “Ford v Ferrari,” which had a strong opening last weekend and brought in an additional $16 million this weekend according to Comscore, which compiles box office data. “Midway,” a World War II action movie distributed by Lionsgate, rounded out the top five with $4.7 million in domestic sales.

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