Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's How "Frozen" Won the Weekend Box Office … in Week 6

By Steve Symington – Jan 7, 2014 at 10:45AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

In its sixth week in theaters, Disney's 'Frozen' just beat both 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' and 'Paranormal Activity 5.' Here's how.

Disney's Frozen, Viacom's Paranormal Activity beat Time Warner's Desolation of Smaug, Comcast coming up next

Disney's Frozen won the box office last weekend, Image source: Disney

Move aside Smaug, because a Disney (DIS -0.01%) princess just took your seat.

After three consecutive weeks on top at the box office, Time Warner's (TWX) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug rang in just under $15.7 million last weekend. That's not too shabby for a fourth-week holdover, and brings Smaug's global haul to a mind-boggling $756 million so far.

But it was still only good enough for a distant third in the U.S. behind Disney's Frozen and Viacom's (VIAB) Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which respectively earned around $19.6 million and $18.3 million.

On one hand, Viacom's silver medal was understandable considering The Marked Ones was the only significant wide new release this weekend. In addition, I expected it might be difficult for The Marked Ones to win with only 2,867 screens to start, compared with more than 3,300 and 3,700 for Frozen and Smaug, respectively.

But Frozen's resilience, on the other hand, is downright remarkable. Why?

Consider this: When Smaug landed stateside on Dec. 13, Frozen was already entering its third weekend and earned a solid second place with $22.6 million. In fact, I even suggested Disney and Frozen were doing well to simply run up the score at that point. Now, Frozen has just finished on top after its sixth week at the domestic box office -- an unheard-of feat in the movie industry -- bringing its worldwide total to nearly $639 million, or more than quadruple Disney's $150 million production budget.

Here's how Frozen continues to outperform

Then again, I suppose its success isn't entirely surprising.

After all, Frozen remains the only big-budget film still in theaters to have earned a perfect "A+" CinemaScore from polled audiences, leaving Disney to benefit from overwhelmingly positive word of mouth. What's more, Frozen kicked things off in November by breaking Toy Story 2's 14-year-old record for the largest Thanksgiving weekend opening.

In fact, had it not been for the incredible holdover performance of Lionsgate's (LGF-A 1.19%) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that very same weekend, Frozen would also currently hold the record for the largest overall Thanksgiving weekend total. In any case, both films managed to shatter that previous high mark, which was set 12 years ago when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone took in $57.5 million.

So where did Catching Fire end up in the most recent three-day period? All the way down in ninth place, earning a little over $7 million. Of course, that's following a much more normal curve for an eighth-week blockbuster, and doesn't mean we should be crying for Lionsgate. Catching Fire has grossed a stellar $830.5 million on the big screen to date, or more than six times Lionsgate's lofty $130 million production budget.

Coming up next

Next weekend, Lionsgate's also hoping for moderate success with The Legend of Hercules in roughly 2,000 theaters, while Comcast (CMCSA 0.34%) could put a dent in some of the other action-centric films with the 2,700-screen expansion of its R-rated action drama, Lone Survivor.

But neither title should pose any significant threat to Disney's Frozen, which should continue to enjoy a relative stranglehold on its target audience for at least another week.

Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
$98.87 (-0.01%) $0.01
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation Class A Stock Quote
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation Class A
$7.65 (1.19%) $0.09
Time Warner Inc. Stock Quote
Time Warner Inc.
Comcast Stock Quote
$35.65 (0.34%) $0.12
Viacom Stock Quote

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.