Anna and Elsa Deliver $127 Million for Disney in ‘Frozen II’ Debut

(Bloomberg) –Walt Disney Co.’s “Frozen II” opened to record worldwide sales for an animated picture, breaking the studio’s own previous mark set earlier this year by “Toy Story 4.”

Fans of the royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Arendelle dropped $358.4 million globally in theaters this weekend, according to data Monday from the studio and researcher Comscore Inc. That set a new record for the worldwide debut of an animated film, the studio said. Two other films opened in wide release: The new Sony Corp. picture about TV’s Mister Rogers starring Tom Hanks and “21 Bridges,” a police thriller from STX Entertainment.

Expectations for “Frozen II” — a sequel to the biggest animated movie of all time — were high. Disney was forecasting opening-weekend sales of as much as $120 million in the U.S. and Canada. Box Office Mojo estimated $120 million, and Box Office Pro projected $130 million. The final North American tally was $130.3 million, Comscore said.

The original “Frozen” is a tough act to follow. That film, featuring the voices of Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, delivered $1.27 billion in global ticket sales and stayed in the top 5 domestically for three months. While those stars have returned for the sequel, meeting that high mark will be difficult.

Animated pictures typically have a staggered release outside the U.S. But “Frozen II” opened on the same day in 37 major markets, including China, France, Germany and the U.K., making a big global total possible.

The Mister Rogers film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” missed forecasts of $16 million to $17 million, coming in at $13.3 million. Hanks stars as the beloved children’s TV host in a story about Fred Rogers’s real-life friendship with a journalist assigned to write a story about him.

“21 Bridges” features “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman in a story about an NYPD detective in a manhunt for two cop killers. Analysts’ forecasts ranged from $8.4 million to $9.7 million. The film came in fourth at $9.3 million.

Even with the big debut for “Frozen II,” theaters continued to see sales trail behind year-earlier levels. North American sales for all films fell 4.9% from the same weekend a year earlier, the result of tough comparisons with 2018, when Thanksgiving weekend came earlier.

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