Sunday, December 1, 2013
Frozen has officially claimed the record for biggest opening of a Walt Disney Animation Studios film…
Beating out previous record-holder Wreck-It Ralph ($49 million), the new film from the Burbank studios has taken in an estimated $66 million (!) over the weekend. Since the film opened on Wednesday, it's now sitting at a huge $93 million, beating out the Thanksgiving opener record held for 14 years by Toy Story 2 ($80 million).
Boy… Walt Disney Animation Studios must be super happy. Again, that's what happens when you emphasize on what your movie is really about when marketing it. The final trailer and the constant plugging of the soundtrack did the trick, because many were certain that this film was going to underperform on opening weekend at best. (Boxoffice.com had predicted $38 million!) The teaser and the trailer upset many animation fans and many had already made up their minds about the film… Until that Elsa-centric trailer!
That weekend gross, though…
For a while, very few animated films released after 2010 - other than Pixar's - seemed to gross over $50 million on opening weekend. DreamWorks scored one film that did so in 2012, but that was a sequel - Madagascar 3 ($60 million). Illumination's The Lorax inexplicably opened with $70 million earlier that year, Despicable Me 2 inevitably opened with $83 million. Anything else besides the three previous Pixar films? Nope. Pixar earns their $60 million weekends given their history of great films, and thus they have a built-in adult audience that shows up on opening weekend.
Since Frozen was sold - albeit very late in the game - as a heartfelt and humorous musical fairy tale Disney classic, it got the audiences, the fans and adults into the theater. Now, Disney marketing, I beg you… Please dedicate the same amount of care and effort into the marketing campaigns for all future Walt Disney Animation Studios films. Treat all the future films, that includes the non-fairy tale/musical films, as events. Big Hero 6 is an event, Zootopia is an event, Giants is an event, Moana is an event. Your previous six films are events, regardless of how they did at the box office. A Walt Disney Animation Studios film is an event!
It is high time that Walt Disney Animation Studios films regularly open with more than $50 million at the domestic box office. (Bolt, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph all had the potential to do so.) Why's that? Because Walt Disney Animation Studios films are, once again, events. Treat them all as such, even the previous string of films. Audiences need to see these films!