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Will Disney "Frozen" blow past "Toy Story 3" to become the top earning animated film of all time?

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Will Disney "Frozen" blow past "Toy Story 3" to become the top earning animated film of all time?

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Talk about your Hollywood endings. On the very same day that Disney "Frozen" won the Academy Award for Best Animation Feature, this Walt Disney Animation Studios production then becomes a member of Hollywood's exclusive Billion Dollar Club.

(L to R) Peter Del Vecho, producer of Disney "Frozen," Jennifer Lee and
Chris Buck onstage at the Dolby Theatre as they win this year's Academy
Award for Best Animated Feature. Photo by Adam Taylor. Copyright
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Now you have to understand the crew at WDAS never ever expected to be here. I mean, I still remember all of the panicked phone calls & e-mails that I got back in late June of last year. This was right after that first teaser trailer for Disney "Frozen" had been released to  the Web. And based on what people were saying about Olaf (If I'm remembering correctly, the reply that most often got posted in this YouTube video's discussion section was "KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!"), my friends who worked on this production were genuinely concerned that moviegoers weren't going to give "Frozen" a chance.

Well, as you can see by the $388.7 million worth of tickets that have been sold to date for this Chris Buck / Jennifer Lee film in North America as well as those $611.5 million worth of tickets that have been sold to date overseas, moviegoers really were willing to give Disney "Frozen" a chance.

And as for this film's current $1,000.2 billion worldwide total ... Well, friends who work at WDAS are still obviously jazzed about "Frozen" 's Oscar win as well as the fact that their movie has just passed this massive milestone (Which -- for those of you who are keeping count out there -- means that Disney "Frozen" is now 18th on Box Office Mojo's list of all time worldwide top box office earners. More to the point, it's only the second animated feature in Hollywood history to reach this threshold).

Copyright 2010 Pixar Disney. All rights reserved

But you know what's funny? In that great Texas tradition of "Too much ain't enough," the very same people who once dreamed that Disney "Frozen" could possibly blow through the billion dollar barrier are now looking a little further up Box Office Mojo's all time worldwide box office earners list. At "Toy Story 3 ," to be specific. Which currently occupies the No. 11th spot with a worldwide box office total of "just" $1,063.2 billion.

Given that only $63 million separates Disney "Frozen" and the current top grossing animated feature of all time (More importantly, given that this WDAS production doesn't actually open in Japan 'til March 15th), there are those in Burbank who are now wondering if this acclaimed animated feature still have enough gas left in the tank to roll past one more box office milestone.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

To be honest, it's kind of hard to predict what's going to happen next with Disney "Frozen" in North America. I mean, this past weekend -- during its 15th week in release -- this WDAS release still managed to sell $3.6 million in tickets. And after a Oscar win, films do traditionally experience a box office bump. The only problem is that the DVD & Blu-ray version of Disney "Frozen" hits store shelves on March 18th (More to the point, this film became available as a digital HD download this past Tuesday). Which means that this Walt Disney Animation Studios production really only has two weeks left to sell tickets in North America.

Now as for how Disney "Frozen" will do in Japan ... Given that "Tangled " sold $31 million worth of tickets in that country back in March of 2011 and "Wreck-It Ralph " sold $29.6 million worth of tickets back in March of last year, the smart money is now on Disney "Frozen" selling at least $35 - $40 million worth of tickets when it opens in Japan later this month. But if this WDAS production becomes a phenomenon in Japan the way it has in the US, a $60 million gross in that country is not out of the question.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

So what do you folks think? Does Disney "Frozen" actually have what it takes to become the top earning animated feature of all time? Or will this WDAS production just have to settle for being 2013's Best Animated Feature (Which has to be really sweet. Given that -- in the 13 years since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences first introduced the Best Animated Feature category -- "Frozen" is the first Walt Disney Productions Studios production to win this award)? Not to mention becoming the newest member of the Billion Dollar Earner Club?

Your thoughts?

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  • "This was right after that first teaser trailer for Disney "Frozen" had been released to  the Web. And based on what people were saying about Olaf (If I'm remembering correctly, the reply that most often got posted in this YouTube video's discussion section was "KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!")"

    That's because people online tend to be judgmental morons who like to be negative and overly dramatic. By contrast, I noticed that everyone loved the teaser whenever I would see it in theaters. It just goes to show you what a sad disconnection there is between the online comments of Youtube (and facebook) and "real life." (This is why I have my YouTube set on "safety mode", so I don't have to see any comments.)

    I've also read that some claimed that the marketing for Frozen was badly done. I say, BULL. There was clearly a method to what Disney was doing. The teaser and early trailers had an emphasis on gags and comedy because they didn't want to make it seem like a "girly princess film," That was a smart move. It was only in the final TV spots that they revealed that Frozen had a lot of musical numbers in it, thus, a more "traditional" Disney film.

    (Of course before those TV spots, anyone who attended the D23 Expo presentation on Aug. 9th last year knew that there would be at least two songs in the film;  the song "In Summer", shown in a clip, & "Let It Go" performed live by Idina Menzel.)

    I love Frozen. It's a fantastic movie. Great story and great music. I'm glad that it has been such a success for Disney. I laugh at all the people on the Internet who initially thought the movie was going to fail. I also love the fact that there are some twists in the film that played with what audiences expected to happen.

  • Frozen's success is well-deserved, in my opinion.  It's got amazing music, a great story, and wonderful characters, which made it more than worthy of earning Disney Feature Animation it's first Oscar win.  And while I believe Toy Story 3 to be an incredible film in its own right, I do hope to see Frozen pass it on the all-time biggest box office earning list; it's still got the time to do it even with the approaching home video release (saw it again twice this past weekend myself).  

    Speaking of the approaching US home video release, Jim any chance you can dig up some info on what the actual story is behind the no-show for a 3D blu-ray version?  Disney Home Video has indicated to some of us that have called that it will be coming in the Fall, but could provide no other details.  Some have said Disney experienced a manufacturing issue with the 3D discs, thus the delay.  Personally, I believe with Frozen's unexpected phenomenal success that Disney chose to hold the 3D back for a more deluxe release with more extensive bonus features and the inclusion of the sing-a-long in addition to the 3D.  But, it's all speculation as Disney seems to be very tight-lipped on the subject.  It's 3D delay is actually leading many to import 3D versions from other countries as apparently the only area not getting a current 3D home video release is the US.  So, it'd be nice to get some actual facts about what's going on with the 3D version for the US.

  • Hey, that's great.  What does this mean for the future of Disney animation, though?

  • ...And I forgot to say, great characters too!

  • Its amazing how badly Disney misjudged the demand for this.  We just came back from WDW and every girl wanted an Elsa doll or dress, and would have been happy "settling" for Anna, but there were none anywhere- AND THAT WAS IN DISNEY!!!  The line to see Elsa and Anna was 4 hours long!!- And the demand was triple that, but most of us decided that waiting in line for 4 or 5 major rides was a better use of time...  Whoever actually thought the Lone Ranger was going to be a mega-hit while this was going to be mediocre, really should be at a cart selling churros...

  • I feel Tangled is a much better film than Toy Story 3, Monsters University, and Frozen.

  • I never take ANY of the box office hype serious. Annual increases in ticket prices automatically put every following year's new films up a notch. So there will always be another level of  "top earning" films that have no relevance to those that came before.

    Frozen will not be any stronger than many of the other Disney animated films. Eventually, someone may be able to provide some relationship (taking inflation, merchandise, DVD's, etc. into consideration) that puts Frozen in relation to other Disney releases.

  • Never draw a line on frozen, I remember all critics saying this movie would at most only get around 400-500 mil. Look where it is now, its at striking distance of toy story 3. I mean seriously, even with the HD version coming out it almost did nothing to lower the ticket sales last week end. With japan, If it continues to go with the same trend as the rest of the world, its going to be huge there. You completely forgot to mentioned Korea, where its still huge and doesnt seem like its going to stop any time soon. The odds are very much in favor of frozen toppling toy story 3.

  • Frozen will eventually pass Toy Story 3 if only due to higher ticket prices now.

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