Six years after "Frozen" kicked up a pop-culture blizzard, the sequel to Elsa, Anna and Olaf's adventures snowed-in the box office with an estimated $127 million debut domestically and $350.2 million worldwide, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The opening for the Walt Disney Co.'s "Frozen 2" buried several records. It's the highest-grossing weekend ever for any animated film globally. It marks a new high in the U.S. and Canada for an animated movie released outside of the summer season. And it's the largest opening for any Walt Disney release.
Disney opted for the week ahead of Thanksgiving to open "Frozen 2," meaning it will get a significant second week bump from kids out of school. The first "Frozen" opened over Thanksgiving, earning $93 million in five days and $67 million for the three-day weekend.
The original, though, quickly grew into a sensation, remaining in the top 10 at the box office for 17 weeks and ultimately grossing $1.27 billion.
Matching that total gross won't be easy sledding, but "Frozen 2" has a head start. Cathleen Taff, Disney distribution chief, granted there's a "high bar" set by "Frozen," but she's confident of the film's enormous appeal.
"We can't open to a number this big without everybody coming out to see it," said Taff. "We're looking forward to a good run through the holidays given kids are going to start getting out of school this next week."
Reviews and audience reaction have been good for "Frozen 2," but not as strong as they were for the original. The CinemaScore was A- for "Frozen 2," whereas "Frozen" yielded an A+. Critics were also a little less taken with the sequel: 75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 90% for the original.
But scores were still very high, including a 93% Rotten Tomatoes audience rating. Crowds were largely female (59%).
But Elsa could do only so much to move the needle. The weekend was down 7% from the same time frame last year, according to Comscore.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday:
1. "Frozen," $127 million.
2. "Ford v Ferrari," $16 million.
3. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," $13.5 million.
4. "21 Bridges," $9.3 million.
5. "Midway," $4.7 million.
6. "Playing With Fire," $4.6 million.
7. "The Good Liar," $3.8 million.
8. "Charlie's Angels," $3.2 million.
9. "Last Christmas," $3 million.
10. "Joker," $2.8 million.