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Elsa, Anna and company looking out at the journey that lies ahead

No one could have predicted just how massively successful Frozen would be when it debuted in theaters six years ago. Heck it didn’t even open in first place, coming in second to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But it went on to become an unprecedented phenomenon and, needless to say, its box office success won’t be a surprise this time around with Frozen II. The only question is how big it will be and so far Frozen II is tracking for a huge opening weekend.

The long-range tracking is in and Frozen II is forecasted to enjoy a huge opening weekend between $115-$145 million. While things can and possibly will change as we get closer to the film’s release date, when the promotional campaign ramps up and reviews start to come out, for now $125 million is the mark Frozen II is projected to hit.

That $125 million opening weekend is an outstanding outlook for the Disney film and would give Frozen II the fourth-biggest opening weekend of the year, ahead of Pixar’s Toy Story 4, which debuted in June to $120.9 million and behind Captain Marvel’s $153.4 million. The last Walt Disney Animation Studios film, last year’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, managed a $56.2 million opening weekend and while Ralph broke the internet, Frozen II is set to break the box office.

An opening weekend of $125 million would also practically double the opening weekend of Frozen, which opened wide to $67.3 million. Of course, Frozen was an unknown quantity at that point and its ultimate box office success came over time thanks to an infectious soundtrack and repeat viewings. That success bodes extremely well for Frozen II.

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s Frozen made $400.7 million domestically and $1.27 billion worldwide. That latter number is still good for the record for the highest-grossing original animated film of all time, even though this year’s “live-action” remake of The Lion King surpassed it and technically holds the animated record overall with $1.63 billion.

Speaking of The Lion King, that film opened in July to $191.7 million and although Frozen II is not tracking to beat that, the lack of major tentpole animated family releases since The Lion King could result in high demand for the Frozen sequel come November. That’s of course in addition to the pent-up demand and wait for this film accumulated over the past six years. I’m guessing after six years audiences haven’t quite let it go.

According to Box Office Pro, which issued this long-range tracking for Frozen II, reactions to the trailer -- which was viewed a lot -- and social media metrics are also strong for the sequel, rivaling films like Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory, which opened to $182.6 million and $135 million respectively.

Most signs indicate that Frozen II will be huge and if it is to fall short to its predecessor, it will not be in its opening weekend, but in its overall run. Working against Frozen II is the fact that animated sequels often trend down from their predecessors, although that is not a hard and fast rule, particularly with Disney movies.

In addition, on the domestic opening weekend front, Frozen II debuts one week before Thanksgiving weekend and that could result in audiences putting off going opening weekend and instead waiting to go over the holiday with family.

Unlike when Elsa faced off with Katniss in 2013, there isn’t some huge movie coming out the weekend before Frozen II and its competition opening weekend is minimal. Also debuting on November 22 are the Mister Rogers film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and the Chadwick Boseman movie 21 Bridges. They are predicted to open with $19 million and $10 million respectively.

After that, though, things get tougher come December with movies like Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the way. No matter what, Frozen II will open huge. Its success overall, though, will depend on how well the sequel can recreate the pop culture phenomenon that the first film ended up being. That's no easy task, but if Elsa and Disney can't conjure the necessary magic, no one can.

Frozen II opens in theaters on November 22. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what other movies are headed your way this fall.

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