‘Frozen 2’ ices competition again with record Thanksgiving

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Frozen 2 kept a wintry wind at its back in its second week, setting a Thanksgiving record with a whopping box office bounty, while newcomer Knives Out found its own broad audience.

Disney’s new set of adventures for Anna, Elsa and Olaf brought in USD85.3 million in the United States (US) and Canada over the weekend and earned an unprecedented USD132.7 million for the holiday frame of last Wednesday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

The first Frozen opened on Thanksgiving in 2013, but the sequel opened a week prior to the holiday, making it poised for a huge second week, with kids happy to see it a second or a third time.

“Having the opening weekend falling a few days ahead of Thanksgiving really set it up perfectly,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the box office tracker Comscore. That came on top of a record-burying opening weekend of USD127 million debut domestically and USD350.2 million worldwide that made it the highest-grossing global debut for any animated film globally, and the largest opening for any Walt Disney Animation Studios release.

The original film and its world-making song Let It Go became a pop-culture phenomenon, earning USD1.27 billion worldwide and selling countless Elsa and Anna dresses. The sequel has more than showed that the six years since has brought no thaw. It has already earned USD739 million globally and should certainly surpass the original’s totals. “Disney is usually immune to the waning interest that audience have with some sequels,” Dergarabedian said.

Knives Out, the innovative whodunit from writer and director Rian Johnson, rode great reviews and strong social media buzz to a USD27 million weekend and a five-day domestic total of USD41.7 million that easily earned back its budget.

The film’s vast and eclectic cast included Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Chris Evans. Johnson, the director of Looper and The Last Jedi, had been the target of some Twitter fanboy outrage for the direction he took the second episode in the newest Star Wars trilogy. The Knives Out opening showed his name value was unharmed and might even have been strengthened by the online noise, and its reception could mean awards season consideration for Johnson and the cast. “First and foremost, this starts with Rian Johnson,” said David Spitz, president of domestic distribution for Lionsgate. “He wrote a screenplay we all loved and executed it to perfection.” In response to the strong showing, Johnson on Sunday morning tweeted, “Wow – THANKS to everyone who came to #KnivesOut this weekend, and for all the lovely tweets, you guys are the best.”

A scene from ‘Frozen 2’. PHOTO: VOX