Back in 2013, Walt Disney (DIS) Animation’s Frozen unexpectedly broke out in a big way. The film opened on Thanksgiving weekend to $67.4 million over the first three days, and a healthy $93.6 million over the full five-day holiday spree. It would go on to earn $400 million domestic and $1.2 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing animated film of all-time (2019’s The Lion King notwithstanding). Six years later, can Frozen II top the lofty, snow-capped peaks of its predecessor?
The first influx of tracking projections peg the sequel for a $100 million-plus opening, which would mark the highest debut for an animated film outside of the summer blockbuster season. Thus far, the movie’s promotional campaign has been well met by critics and fans, with online chatter skewing positive in regards to the trailers. That’s a good start. It also helps that there’s been a dearth of family-friendly offerings since July’s The Lion King, likely providing Frozen II with some added traction.
The gap between films, recently a death sentence for long-awaited sequels such as The LEGO Movie 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, may present an opportunity for Disney to recruit a new generation of fans. Kids who were too young to see the original are now in the prime target demo, and those in the tween years are still potentially young enough to show up.
But, in order to ride a similar wave of enthusiasm and attract repeat viewings, Frozen II will need to have an equally enticing soundtrack. That’s no sure thing. Opening a week before Thanksgiving is also a question mark. With the holiday around the corner, parents may opt to wait until week two to catch the film, hurting its opening weekend numbers. The sequel will also face a considerably tougher December schedule—Jumanji: The Next Level, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Spies In Disguise—this time around.
The original Frozen mustered up an impressive 5.9x three-day domestic multiplier (4.2x five-day multiplier)—the multiple of the film’s final gross to its debut numbers—while earning 31 percent of its total gross in North America and 69 percent overseas. Disney has already set a Hollywood record with five films crossing the $1 billion mark this year with Frozen II and The Rise of Skywalker poised to join the club.