“Frozen” Tops “Finding Nemo” To Become All-Time Highest-Grossing Original Animated Pic

Surpassing even the most generous box office predictions, Disney’s Frozen continues to shatter records. Moving up one spot from fifth to fourth place, Frozen scored $9 million domestically last weekend to push its total to $347.8M. That amount topped Finding Nemo‘s $339.7M gross to take the crown as the highest-grossing original animated movie in history (excluding re-release grosses).

Combined with a $20.2M overseas gross, Frozen was the number two film in the world last week, trailing only The Wolf of Wall Street. The film’s international cume is $462.5M and its global total is $810.3M. With China and Japan releases still to come and a sing-along version opening in the U.S. next weekend, the film could yet surpass $1 billion and overtake Despicable Me 2 as the top-grossing animated pic of 2013.

In its second U.S. weekend, The Nut Job dropped a respectable 37% to third place with an estimated $12.3 million. The film has grossed $40.3M, good enough to assure itself a sequel.

Two weekends ago in China, animation held the top two spots at the box office with Despicable Me 2 and Boonie Bears. They didn’t hold the top spots last weekend, but both films played well with Despicable Me 2 earning $5M and pushing its Chinese total to over $40M, and Boonie Bears collecting $4M for a $24M total.


  • snail_male

    Apologies if this has been flogged to death at other times, but I’ve got to take my turn: U.S. statistics focusing on bottom line are so meaningless they’re irrelevant. Unless inflation is taken into account they say little of a film’s popularity except amongst chowderheads who are wowed by lots of zeroes. Snow White’s still the most popular animated film, along with 101 Dalmatians, Lion King, blah blah blah… a quick count @ Box Office Mojo puts it just inside the top 25 all time animated domestic. Yawn…

    • AmidAmidi

      Yes, it has been flogged to death, and unfortunately business reporting does not adjust for inflation from 80 years ago. If we were talking about biggest audience, then yes, Snow White (and countless other Disney features) would easily trump Frozen and it would be inaccurate to claim Frozen as having the biggest audience. But we’re talking box office gross, which is a concrete number that doesn’t take into account inflation. Is it right or wrong? That’s a far bigger discussion that reaches beyond this single instance currently being reported.

      • zoe

        I think it’s pretty misleading to report on the non-inflation-adjusted figures. The reason people are interested in the grosses is as a proxy for popularity, “success,” etc. — not just because “Big number is big.” You have no trouble questioning the official party lines on this blog, and you frame stuff skeptically all the time — so why not call out this bit of fluff for what it is: an intentional misdirection of attention away from the inconvenient fact that film audiences have been shrinking for decades.

        • celticmoon

          Yes, it’s a fact that film audiences have been shrinking for decades. There are increasingly more options for media consumption as the years go by, and as ticket prices continue to increase at a far faster rate than peoples’ incomes, it really is no wonder.

          So, then, as a “proxy for popularity” or “success,” does it really make sense to compare sales figures (i.e. number of tickets sold, or “adjusted grosses,” which are usually not entirely reliable for films that have had multiple releases across multiple decades) for Frozen (2013), The Lion King (1994), and Snow White (1937)? It’s simply near-impossible for a film today to sell as many tickets as The Lion King did. Does that mean it’s not as popular or successful? Personally, I wouldn’t be so sure. You have to look at how well it is doing in comparison to more contemporary examples. Fact is, Frozen is the top grossing animated non-sequel since Finding Nemo. Regardless of how you feel about the film itself, how could anyone see this as anything but a huge success?

          Personally, I disagree with a lot of Amid’s posts myself, but this piece is purely about box office numbers, and is not presented as anything but.

          Clearly, Frozen is not and frankly couldn’t even dream of being the most attended original animated film in history. But it did become the highest grossing one after more than ten years! I honestly think that that is quite an accomplishment.

          • Varg2000

            “Clearly, Frozen is not and frankly couldn’t even dream of being the most attended original animated film in history.”

            I can’t agree on this, I mean the film is doing so incredibly unbelievably well it is at this very moment achieving just that which you practically call “impossible”. I wouldn’t even dare saying what you just said, not at this point anyway.

            “It’s simply near-impossible for a film today to sell as many tickets as The Lion King did.”

            I don’t completely agree, anyway, personally I would see Frozen as an absolute exception. I mean The Lion King grossed (excluding the recent re-releases in 2002 and 2011) $312,855,561 domestically, and Frozen has (so far) grossed $369,080,767 domestically, and increases. That of course means that Frozen has already passed The Lion King and is now on top, and it did that without later re-releases.

            Worldwide though, The Lion King grossed (excluding the recent re-releases in 2002 and 2011) $768.6 million, while Frozen has currently grossed $914,180,767. It’s obvious Frozen has passed The Lion King, and I would ceratainly not hesitate to actually call it the most popular and most attended original animated film in history. Seriously, this is an incredible accomplishment.

            See also: http://www.imdb.com/search/title?genres=animation&title_type=feature

          • shotsfired

            THE SNOW QUEEN <3

          • Varg2000

            Awesomeness! <3

          • celticmoon

            By fact, it is NOT (and will not become) the most-attended (i.e. getting the most butts in seats) animated film in history. While we can’t get entirely accurate figures, The Lion King’s estimated ticket sales easily surpass those of Frozen. And that’s to say nothing of Snow White.

            The way Box Office has changed over the years, it just isn’t possible in most cases for the blockbusters of today to compete (in terms of admissions) with the greats of yesteryear, though at times you get one of those “near impossible” cases like Avatar.

            The landscape has changed. Theatrical runs are very short now, with BD/DVD being released just four months after the theatrical debuts. (In Frozen’s case, it was already available for HD digital downloads after three months!) It also doesn’t help that ticket prices have increased at a higher rate than inflation in general.

            You make it sound like I was putting Frozen down. That is not the case at all. I was, in fact, defending it, and trying to add some perspective for the naysayers. (You upvoted my other post that went into more detail.) It’s performance is simply remarkable.

          • Varg2000

            Let me get this straight (and I assume you’re refering to films adjusted for inflation), as I understand it, the most-attended animated film should be the highest grossing animated film (that means not adjusted for inflation, but the actual numbers, since inflation may show a different number in thought and on paper, but physically it won’t be showing any more butts in seats than what was actually present in the theatres at the time the film was showing), and that is currently Toy Story 3 with $1,063,171,911 worldwide, but Frozen has soon reached past that with currently $1,049,744,862 worldwide (and still going of course).

            The Lion King only reached $987,483,777 worldwide, and if it wasn’t for two re-releases it would have just been about 768 million dollars (on its original run, which is not even close to Frozen), and we shouldn’t even speak of Snow White’s $416 million (which is even lower). Though it’s true that, for the moment, it isn’t the most-attended animated film in history, but it will more than likely soon become that. I mean it’s pretty obvious by now.

            Bottom line, when I speak of most attended film in history, I speak about actual numbers and an actual amount of people/movie-goers. But I understand your reasoning.

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      There’s still no denying Frozen is very popular and doing very well. I think it’s a fantastic movie, so I’m thrilled to see it doing so well at the box office.

    • celticmoon

      Frozen is a huge success and wildly popular, and at the very least is one of the few animated films that approaches the phenomenon that The Lion King was twenty years ago. Just because it didn’t sell as many tickets as Snow White or even The Lion King frankly means nothing. Sure, ticket prices are a lot higher now. But even twenty years ago, the market was different. Films played in theaters for much longer periods of time, and they weren’t competing against the thousands of entertainment options that have popped up since then. Piracy was not running rampant. And fans had to wait much longer to be able to own their favorite films on video. (And back when Snow White was released, the only way to see the film would have been to go to the theater. Same for its countless re-releases.) Due to high ticket prices (which have ballooned up way more compared to inflation in general), many people these days forgo the theater experience altogether and wait three to four months to rent or stream. Going to the movies used to be a very affordable pastime. Now, for many, it is not.

      Also, in terms of animated films, Disney dominated that market in the US until well into the 90s. Even in the 90s, there was basically just Disney, Don Bluth, and the odd Disney copycat here and there. Pixar and Dreamworks didn’t pop up until the latter half of the decade. Today, in addition to the aforementioned three big studios, there is Blue Sky, Sony Pictures Animation, Illumination Animation, and other smaller studios, many of which release at least one film per calendar year.

      Despite the increase in population, I think it’s virtually impossible for an animated film to sell as many tickets as The Lion King today, let alone Snow White. I guess you can still argue that Frozen isn’t as popular, but it isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison.

      You can look at the box office gross in dollars, or you can look at the number of tickets sold. Neither is going to tell you the true popularity of the film relative to another film released in an entirely different era. At the rate that media consumption changes and evolves over time, I’d say that even comparing movies released just ten years apart, either in terms of gross or tickets sold, is not really a fair comparison.

      But as Amid said, this article is not even about “popularity.” It is about box office gross. No claim was made that Frozen is more popular than Snow White. So there’s that.

      • Glassofjuice

        VERY well said. Hopefully the haters will quite down now.

  • jacobsonrl

    But Frozen’s loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

    • Scarabim

      It’s got much more in common with “Wicked” than “The Snow Queen”. We have yet to see a really good modern animated version of the latter, unfortunately. Maybe Dreamworks will take up the challenge…

      • jacobsonrl

        I haven’t seen the musical or read Wicked, so I wouldn’t have guessed that, but Elsa is “The Snow Queen”, although the story is largely different.

    • Austin Papageorge

      I think original here might mean not a sequel.

  • Lauren

    Haha, forget marketing, this is tumblr’s doing! It’s all word of mouth through the internet.

  • George Comerci

    YES!!!!! I KNEW THEY WOULD!!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE AND I AM SO GLAD ITS SUCH A SUCESS!!!!!! ill be seeing it for the fourth time this weekend :3

  • Roberto Severino

    I’m finally gonna try to see this movie this weekend to see what the hubbub is about and to also be able to watch the Get a Horse short. Glad it’s doing really well regardless of what metrics are used to measure its success.

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  • Toonio

    The amount of press Frozen is getting to cover for its shortcomings got to be propaganda at its finest.

    I’m still waiting for the Oscars to see what the critics have to say about an animation classic losing to a mainstream train wreck.

    • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

      What is the “classic”?

  • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

    I hope Disney makes more musicals with the Lopez’s.

  • Uli Meyer

    Sadly that could mean that there will be a plethora of ‘singing members of royalty’ movies heading our way.

    • Lionel

      I agree with you. There will be more singing fairy tales following Frozen, and this is sad, because the genre has nothing new to offer, at least in the way major studios envision it.
      What’s more, Frozen is a catastrophe on every level, except the technology. Cliched and incoherent story, ugly and equally cliched character design, truly awful songs and music. So far, Lasseter’s tenure at Disney has given us an unnecessary copy of the 90s musicals (the princess and the frog), a nice but equally unnecessary pastiche of the 60s movies (Winnie the Pooh), two singing CGI musicals, and the only fresh movie of all, Wreck-it Ralph, which is not very good either. Talk about inspired leadership.
      Alas, it has been proven many times that, as far as audiences are concerned, only the most conservative Disney animated movies succed. Anything remotely different fails. So we will probably continue to se more singing fairy tales (or “princess movies”, as they call them nowadays).

      • twitterui

        I lost you at “cliched”. If you watched the movie with your eyes open, you’d know that the massive plot twist was anything but cliched and the movie itself broke a lot of stereotypes of the typical princess movies. All around stunning, emotional and inspirational animated film. Disney at it’s best.

    • Gary Dunn

      King Kong the musical..?

    • George_Cliff

      Based on past history I think it’s fairly safe to assume that this movie’s success will pretty much sets the course for the next 10 years of Disney animation. Disney has all but abandoned its male audience.

      • Lucky Jim

        What? You don’t make over $800 million worldwide by abandoning your male audience. Guys like “Frozen” too.

      • Austin Papageorge

        Dude, when has Disney ever been macho? Have you not noticed how many Disney movies feature princesses?

      • nifferg

        my 16 and 12 yr old sons loved this movie!

  • Cheese

    In the animation box office, Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″ still holds the record at the box office, except it’s a sequel and not an original feature.

    In my opinion, Disney’s “Frozen” did not surpass Disney’s “The Lion King,” because it’s entirely done in CGI besides traditional animation, and it was released in 3D. When Disney’s “The Lion King” was released in 1994, there is no 3D release until 2011, and it almost reached to $1 billion. If Disney’s “The Lion King” gets a re-release with a sing-a-long sometime in the near future, that will top it off. Or even better, an extended version that would hopefully provide a detailed back story for one of the characters to represent their purposes, such as Scar.

    Disney’s “Frozen” will probably still be behind “Despicable Me 2,” but with a re-release for a sing-a-long, it might top it off.

    • jmark59

      So it doesn’t count as animation because it uses a new technology? That is the worst type of reasoning ever. If you paid attention to the article, rereleases aren’t counted in comparative box office totals, just the original release. That includes the rerelease of “The Lion King” in 2011.

    • cheesesmasher

      “Disney’s “Frozen” will probably still be behind “Despicable Me 2,” but with a re-release for a sing-a-long, it might top it off.”
      Haha, thats where you’re wrong, but I don’t blame you. No one saw this massive success coming. Already crossed the billion dollar mark as of today, on its way to become the highest grossing animated film of all time, hopefully its got two oscars coming its way and with a push from Japan it could possibly even challenge Iron Man 3 as the highest grossing film of 2013?

  • Tim c

    Even with inflation accounted for, Frozen is insanely popular. One of Disney’s biggest hits, no doubt.

  • Ricky

    i think there should be a “in spite of the dreadful Disney marketing” in there

    • MrFilmyMan

      Or ‘because of the dreadful Disney marketing’.

  • Lionel

    You have no idea who you’re talking to, and you don’t hesitate to presume what I think. And you’re wrong on every level. Brave was really bad, not as much as Frozen, but that’s not saying much. And Ralph is better than those two.
    And if you think the songs in Frozen are good, you may have been raised on contemporary pop music. So you have bad taste. And I pity you.

  • MrFilmyMan

    It’s a sequel, not an original film.

  • Caitlin Cadieux

    I agree that Brave was a disappointment (although I had very high hopes for it), but Frozen felt exactly like going to see Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin at the theaters to me — it felt like a Disney classic I watched with the same enthusiasm as in my childhood, with modern spins that I absolutely loved. (“who gets engaged to someone they just met?!”) Initially I preferred Tangled, but after seeing it again and over time Frozen has won out over it in my mind. I can’t give the twist on what constitutes True Love enough praise, either.

    There were definite missteps and I really dislike the Troll sequence/song, but overall I loved the weirdly familiar feeling of watching a Disney classic that I got from Frozen.

  • Annie a

    On the level of the classics, no less. What an amazing film <3

  • Caitlin Cadieux

    I think it comes down to personal preferences at the end of the day. Tangled and Frozen have a bit of a different ‘flavor’ than the old classics (I found Princess and the Frog to be good but somehow unmemorable, personally). Frozen is hitting all the right notes with a load of people for whatever reason though. I immensely enjoyed it, but above all I’m just always happy to see good animation doing well at the box office. Would definitely be nice to see a 2D feature doing the same right now, though!

  • Varg2000

    Frozen – “all time highest animated (soon not just original) motion picture” – it’s not surprising at all that this incredible film is able to get such an amazing title!

  • http://www.myfconline.com/Delilah_ Feathermay

    There’s just no stopping it!! Everyone already knows that the numbers can’t be directly compared across decades, but regardless, there’s no way to look at this movie other than as a roaring, runaway success. Every week since I saw it in December, I’ve been glad to see it still showing in theaters, still so close to the top of the box office. The DVD & Blu-ray sales and rentals should also be record-breaking; I’ve had my pre-order in for a while now. I have to say, I’m a complete Disneyphile, but haven’t been this affected by a new straight-up Disney film in a long while. The “Best Disney movie since The Lion King” critical praise is well-deserved, imo. I feel as if it’s…just about, or almost, equal to the best movies they’ve made. I ran right home and got myself the soundtrack, a shirt, a mug, and a couple books pertaining to the film. I related to the characters of both sisters on a very personal level. The incredible music just BLEW me away, and I can’t get enough of it. I mean, just, wow. Every number is sheer perfection. Visually, musically, emotionally, vocally, narratively, and in any other way–this movie is so ridiculously powerful.

    Elsa & Anna, along with Merida (I ADORE Brave–and while it’s absolutely true that I adore all Pixar films to a crazy degree, Brave is now pretty much second to Nemo for me), have finally forced Ariel to scooch over on her “My Favorite Official-Lineup Disney Princess” throne…which I don’t think she minds. The fierce, independent, self-assured, aggressive Scottish redhead and the two radiant Norwegian ladies are more than worthy of being my other top faves.

    The Princess & the Frog is a great movie; Disney began to get themselves out of their “crappy direct-to-video sequel” funk and back into actually making awesomeness–their first really good original one since Tarzan. Guess they got a bit tired of Pixar refusing to share the crown for animation, even though Pixar is now technically one of the maaany branches of Disney. (Yesterday I was thinking, “Wow…Miramax is owned by Disney, so technically, Kill Bill is a Disney movie! HA!”) I think Mama Odie’s “Dig a Little Deeper” was my favorite song from that one, and Charlotte my favorite character–although Dr. Facilier was a pretty sweet villain, and ya gotta love Ray and everybody else, too. Then Tangled brought them even closer to their prior glory, being imo a step or two as far as music…and being an all-around well-balanced adventure story, also well-done in all respects. Mother Gothel is my favorite thing about Tangled, easily being among my most-loved villains.

    Speaking of which–I liked how Frozen’s main villain was another ordinary human being with seemingly no morals or conscience. He wasn’t a typical villain, though; you don’t even realize he is one for a long time. Usually you get a major battle scene with all the good guys against the baddie, but Hans didn’t even get the near-requisite gruesome death–just a punch overboard and an unknown fate in prison. Which is the least he deserves for heartlessly attempting to dupe a girl into marriage and assassinate her sister. Aside from him, you’ve got a cast of fascinating characters who are neither fully wrong nor fully right–which frequently causes conflict to arise in reality.