‘Frozen’ Just Became The Highest-Grossing Animated Film Ever

This weekend, Disney’s Frozen became the highest grossing animated film of all time. Its $1.072 billion worldwide gross has surpassed the $1.063 billion of Toy Story 3, which was the previous record-holder for biggest animated feature. Frozen now ranks number 10 on the all-time list of highest-grossing films. The film has has earned an estimated $398.4 million at the domestic box office and $674 million internationally.

Disney has provided us with some fun facts about how much money Frozen has raked in:

Frozen is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Frozen opened wide domestically on November 27, 2013, posting the #1 all-time Thanksgiving debut ($93.6M five-day, $67.4M three-day) and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ biggest opening ever. It remained in the top 10 films at the domestic box office for 16 consecutive weeks, the longest run by any film since 2002.

Internationally, Frozen is the biggest Disney or Pixar animated film of all time in 27 territories, including Russia, China, and Brazil. In Korea, where the film has grossed an estimated $77.1 million, Frozen was #1 for the first five weeks of release and is the biggest animated film, the second biggest non-local film, and Disney’s biggest release of all time. It’s also the highest-grossing animated film of all time in Denmark and Venezuela. Since its debut March 14 in Japan, Frozen has claimed the #1 spot in its first three weekends and continues to play strongly with an estimated $50.5 million to date.

Released on digital February 25 and on disc March 18, Frozen is the fastest-selling digital release ever and sold over 3.2 million Blu-ray/DVD units in its first day, putting it on track to be one of the biggest home entertainment sellers in a decade.

The Platinum-certified Frozen soundtrack returned to the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart last week for a seventh time with more than 1.6 million copies and over 5 million individual tracks sold. The album has also held the #1 position for five nonconsecutive weeks at Spotify and is approaching 110 million streams worldwide. The Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” has sold over 2.6 million copies, and the film clip of the song has been viewed over 160 million times on YouTube.

Here are the estimated results of this weekend’s animated films at the domestic box office:
#4: Mr. Peabody & Sherman ($9.5M weekend/$94.9M total)
#11: The Lego Movie ($3.1M weekend/$248.3M total)
unknown ranking: Frozen ($348,000 weekend/$398.4M total)
unknown ranking: The Nut Job ($322,000 weekend/$63.1M total)
unknown ranking: Ernest & Celestine (numbers will be released on Monday)


  • Derreck Garcia

    Congrats to Walt Disney Animation Studios for a monumental milestone! John, Chris, Jennifer, Peter, Kristen, Robert, and even Christophe deserve a party for their ultimate highlight!

    • TheDisbeliever

      And the artists, too, right?

      • IJK

        No, Derreck purposely left them out because they don’t deserve anything. Only the people he listed. Clearly that’s what he meant in his original post.

        This “Everyone needs to be credited in every speech ever” attitude is really annoying.

        • TheDisbeliever

          Calm yourself.

          I mention them because they’re the (mostly) unnamed workforce behind this movie and deserve some kudos.

          The people metioned get lots and lots of (rightfully deserved) commendation out in the wider sphere of the general media (again, deservedly so) where the efforts of the rest of the team tend to be glazed over. I only bring up the artists because I thought a shout out on the Cartoon Brew forums is the least they deserve. No?

  • CTM

    Good for them I guess, though I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the film. Just too stock Disney-ey for my tastes.

    • Chris B

      agreed. I don’t quite understand how it’s been THIS successful. Sure, they re-released it as the sing-a-long version, and there was the momentum built up from the awesome Tangled and Wreck-it-Ralph, but still… that stuff only gets a movie so far. Frozen has absolutely smashed it!

      • Funkybat

        It’s kind of baffling to me, because some elements of Frozen I thought were great, others I felt were practically unconscious self-parody. The songs…..I mean, I was never clued in on the whole “Wicked” thing so I don’t know Idina Menzel from Adele Dazeem, but I felt like the music was more suited to a stage show than a Disney film. The singing sequences came and went so fast that the audience didn’t have time to “cleanse the palate” between meals, so to speak. Then there were NO songs for the longest time, which was at first a relief but then made the return to singing seem a little out of left field.

        My guess is the combination of it being a mainly female-centric film and the abundance of “catchy” old-school showtunes made this film what it was at the box office. I personally felt “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph” were both more entertaining, but to each their own. At least the snowman wasn’t an annoyance, as most people suspected he would be based on the concept art! He’s probably my favorite thing in the film.

  • wgan

    movie was slightly above mediocrity, I thoroughly enjoy Tangled much much more, from design, animation, story telling and character development, but if this thing is making big money, its good for both side, happy for those who worked on it.

    • Celvin

      I agree. I’m not saying Frozen was terrible or anything and certainly not saying “I HATE DISNEY FORMULA SAME OL’ SAME OL’”, but it really was run-of-the-mil Disney. Kind of Princess and the Frog standard to me.

      I thought Tangled was great so am surprised it wasn’t that film that reached the billion dollar benchmark. Especially since it was Disney’s first step into translating their old 2D films into CGI, so I thought that milestone would have helped it as well.

      • Funkybat

        I thought “Princess and the Frog” was a lot more interesting and entertaining. That movie is seriously under-rated.

        • Harrison

          I agree. Princess and the Frog, in my opinion was way better than Frozen.

    • Cascade-Wvera

      I actually love the films about equally. But to each their own, right?

  • Magsley

    I’m happy because this will (hopefully) keep artist butts in Walt Disney Animation seats and open up expansion for more jobs!

  • Guest

    Huzzah!
    Now Disney can afford to take some actual risks with their upcoming features,
    narratively speaking.

    • Keen Bean

      Or repeat this process again the exact same way because screw innovation!

    • Mike

      ….but why should they when it’s the safe, formulaic movies that make them the big bucks?

      • Funkybat

        Because they ALSO made big bucks with movies that were completely fresh and new like “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Lilo & Stitch.” Those movies were both huge hits in theaters and on home video. It’s a shame that they seem to be few and far between at Disney.

        • DangerMaus

          Did they learn anything from those successes? Look what they did to Chris Sanders, who made one of the more unique movies to come out of Disney Animation in a long time. Luckily it turned out for the best, since he managed to land at DWA and co-direct one of the more unique films to come out of DWA.

          Disney Animation’s “Wreck-It-Ralph” is a fluke if “Frozen” is any indicator.

          • Funkybat

            They can learn from the past if they choose to. I don’t know the whole story regarding Sanders and Disney, but I’ve heard from several people that it basically came down to personality conflicts and jockeying for ultimate say over the direction of his film between him and the new regime of Lasseter/Iger. I wish he had stayed, but at least he helped improve DWA’s creative potential.

            Disney should learn from that experience and carefully look at what did not work there, and what DID work with the Wreck-It Ralph team. That movie was probably the best non-sequel animated feature since The Incredibles, from any studio. It felt fresh, relevant, and hilarious, things not always associated with recent Disney features, and it did that without losing the touching emotional resonance and “overcoming obstacles and finding ones destiny” aspects Disney has almost always had even in their lesser films.

          • DangerMaus

            I hope they do learn from it. It will be interesting to see how that “Hero Six” movie of theirs goes.That teaser footage looked really nice, but it is also really old. There hasn’t been anything new released about that film in quite a while. At least as far as I can see.

            I agree that Wreck-It-Ralph is probably one of the best (if not the best) film to come out in recent times. I know that a lot of people are going on about how good Frozen’s music was, but I was a lot more impressed with the music in Wreck-It-Ralph than Frozen and WiR wasn’t even a musical.

            The only song that really impressed me in Frozen was Let It Go and that is only because it went so well with the Ice Castle building scene which was the highlight of the film for me. I thought that sequence was fantastically done, along with the opener. I really liked the opening sequence in Frozen as well. The rest of the film was okay, but those were the only two scenes that really struck a chord with me.

            Still, I have yet to see a scene in any of the newer Disney musicals that have impressed me as much as the “Kiss The Girl” sequence from The Little Mermaid. That scene was perfection for me when it came to a musical interlude. Hell, I’d put that scene on the same level as Peggy Lee’s performance of “He’s A Tramp” and the “We Are Siamese” sequence.

            Scar’s solo in The Lion KIng comes close too, but still not as good as KTG.

          • Funkybat

            I agree re: the music in Wreck-It Ralph. I am not a big “electronic music” guy, preferring tunes from before I was born, but the orchestration on Wreck-It Ralph fit the videogame realm perfectly, while still feeling like a fully-realized film soundtrack, not just a “chiptune” tribute/parody of game music. The song that goes along with the final race sequence is particularly amazing.

  • George Comerci

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • kaleid

    The main reason I think this is great is because NO ONE is allowed to say that strong women protagonists just won’t make money. Not anymore.

    • Marbles471

      I HOPE you’re right. But given how stubbornly executive types love to learn the wrong lessons from every success they have…

  • Noela

    Serious question, not trying to be snarky: Does this mean we can reasonably expect a sequel? I mean, damn, that’s a lot of money.

    I think the general consensus among the artists whom worked on the film is that it should stand on its own, but if I were the head honcho over at Disney I imagine I’d probably find a sequel pretty tempting right about now.

    • Funkybat

      Any sequel to that story would have to be set years later, and revolve around the child or children of the main characters. The story arcs for those characters were completed in that film. I really can’t picture them having “further adventures” as opposed to the characters in “Wreck-It Ralph” who are practically lined up for further videogame world adventures, especially now that they have assumed their new “roles” in the world of the film. The universe there is just broader, more inclined to introduce new allies and new threats. What does the “Frozen” universe offer? The Vengeance of the Duke of Weaselton? One of Hans’ twelve brothers will show up? The rock trolls will try to find a guy for Elsa?

      • DangerMaus

        That last one sounds about right.

  • http://NO-Yoichi.tumblr.com Nick Yoichi Ogino

    I am kind of saddened by this. Since this became such a huge success, this probably decreases the chance of Disney taking more risks and will go back to musicals and princesses more again. As much as Disney is a nice animation studio, they still think as a corporation and will do what it takes to rake in more dough. Only time will tell if Disney will keep up the risk taking, and I hope they do.

  • disqus_OSXEQoQr4N

    It probably helps that they realeased it on itunes while it was still playing in theaters.

  • Jason

    Gone are the days of reward pay for great work like Glenne Keane back in the day. I think it’s great that Frozen is doing amazing but the artists will only see a fraction of their work with potential layoffs if the next one isn’t a SUPER STAR OMEGA hit.

    • Funkybat

      Maybe someday the artists will get profit participation in the animated films they produce.

      I know, I know, April Fools was earlier this week……

  • Gerry Mooney

    I was looking forward to Frozen, but didn’t enjoy Tangled so much. I’d heard lots of positive comments on Frozen until last week when a friend took his kids to see it and came away disappointed. (He didn’t say how the kids liked it!) So now I’m on the fence for Frozen. I also hate to depend on box office receipts to decide what to see!

  • Keen Bean

    I agree with you especially on the two sister’s part. the world is really caught up in the “I’m a girl who don’t need no man” and girls really taking an impowerment role in society. This film is all about female impowerment but it’s almost abusing the fact that they know girls will watch this while only putting a minimal amount of substance in the film.

  • Rufus

    More money from overseas than the US. Biggest contributor? South Korea – $76 million. Perhaps the new “anime” like character design is paying off.

    • MiracleCat

      Anime and Disney have had great influence on each other. :)

  • Kevin

    Well, Avatar has live action elements, which would prevent it from being considered a “fully” animated feature.

  • ITS THAT SONG!

    I attribute 80% of this to not the story or animation but to that song.

    IT’S THE SONG PEOPLE! No one’s going to mention this?

  • Anson J

    In the 51 year period between 1937 and 1988, Disney Animated Features produced 27 features that resulted in 3 princesses. In the 25 year period between 1989 and 2014 Disney Animated Features (excluding partnerships like Studio Ghibli and Pixar) produced 26 features that resulted in 9 princesses (includes the two Frozen princesses, and excludes Merida). The whole idea of Disney as a “princess” studio is really just the Disney Company caricaturing itself. Maybe “Disney Princesses” should be redubbed “Eisner Princesses.”

    • Marbles471

      THANK you. I’m always glad when someone else points this out. It really gets on my nerves how almost the entire history of the studio’s output somehow gets overlooked when people make this generalization, especially when it comes to the “Princesses.” Aigh.

      And the idea that anything that isn’t a fairy tale or princess movie is a “risk” would have made Walt Disney blanch. I mean, what’s Pinocchio? Fantasia? Dumbo? Or moving ahead, what’s The Rescuers? Great Mouse Detective? Fox and the Hound?

      While not all of these were blockbusters, none of them were misfires, either at the time or in hindsight. Yet today, when anything that isn’t a “Princess” movie seems to have been relegated to irrelevance, it seems every film has to be a mega-smash to even matter at all, and so quieter, more ordinary stories are frowned upon. Or if they are done, they have to be obnoxiously dressed up with celebrity voices, pop-culture references, and scatological humor.

      • DangerMaus

        From what I have read Pinocchio and Fantasia were financial misfires. They lost money in their initial box office releases. It took a long time before they finally earned back their production costs, so both of those films were risks.

  • Funkybat

    The era of “Home on the Range” and “Chicken Little” was a decade ago. Things were bad at Disney then. Look at “Wreck-It Ralph”, that’s something that is a complete departure from almost anything Disney has done since the “second renaissance” of the early 90s. Lilo & Stitch was another great film that “broke the rules” about what a Disney film should be, but again, that was a while ago and the creators of that have long since moved on.

    I want to see Disney strike while the iron is hot from the success of “Wreck-It Ralph” which, while it may not have made ‘Frozen” money, was still a huge hit. Get a sequel going, but also get some new projects going that are outside of the traditional areas of Disney features (fairy tale/action-adventure/animal exploits.) That’s not to say new films can’t have elements of any of those things, but that they, like “Ralph” go in a new direction with them. When people are saying your film is “more Pixar-like than Pixar” as they did with Ralph, that’s a GOOD thing (at least these days!) “Zootopia” and “Big Hero 6″ seem to be departures from the mold, so I’m hoping they are great, but so little is known about them at this point, who knows.

  • Funkybat

    Which is funny to me because, aside from a bunch of posters advertising the stage show, I had ZERO exposure to “Wicked” and knew only the barest outline of the story (the wicked witch isn’t so bad, look at the same story from HER perspective.) Apparently, that thing is a cultural phenomenon beyond the usual Broadway crowd, it just hasn’t shown up in any media I normally watch or read.

    In light of that, I think the film probably would have been more interesting to me if they had made Elsa truly become a villain, a good soul turned bad due to circumstances beyond her control, only to find some level of redemption by saving her sister in the end. Elsa offered a lot more potential character development and exploration than we got in the final film.

  • DangerMaus

    Obviously, there is no way to tell what will be a hit with people. I found the film to be okay, not great. Now we can assured that “Frozen 2″ will be on the way. Another notch in the “Disney Princess” belt and the assurance that Disney animation will crank out nothing but tired musicals. Also, the success of this middle-of-the-road film ensures that Disney Animation will never put out another “traditional” 2D film again. The Princess and The Frog was the last gasp for traditional Disney “cel” animated films. What a sorry end to the fantastic legacy of Disney “cel” animated films.

    • Harrison

      It is sad indeed. Why on earth would Disney ever return to classic animation after this overrated movie.

  • DangerMaus

    I don’t know why everyone always likes to take a dump on Chicken Little. I’ll have to say that I enjoyed that film a lot more than most of Disney’s Princess Factory films such as The Princess and The Frog. Outside of WiR, I’ve actually liked their “dud” films more than their successful ones. At least the duds took a few chances.

    I’d take a dozen Chicken Littles over yet another Princess musical. Also, exactly how is Pixar challenging the kinds of subject matter used in animated films? Any sort of storytelling innovation that they possessed has disappeared since they were bought out by Disney. Frankly, even Disney Animation has been more innovative over their last couple of films than Pixar has. Brave was pretty well a boring dud.

    • Cascade-Wvera

      I think that the problem with Chicken Little was that it was trying too much to be like a Pixar film as we’re Meet the Robinsons and Bolt, in my opinion.

  • Harrison

    I honestly don’t get why Frozen is such a hit. I mean yeah its an okay movie, but its getting way more attention than it should be. To me, Princess and the Frog was way better. It had better animation, story, characters, songs, and even backgrounds. It didn’t have to rely on some stupid taking snowman, it relied on the classic feel from the Disney Renaissance Period. Maybe their next film Zootopia will be better, but for now, I’m not holding my breath for a new hand drawn film from them.

    • Cascade-Wvera

      Well, The Princess and the Frog has to rely on Louis and Ray a bit during the film. Honestly, it didn’t have the Renaissance feel. Not that it was a bad film, I actually liked it. But hey, to each their own.

  • KD

    I don’t quite get Frozen. It barely resembles it’s source material, and I found the characters dull and their actions poorly thought out. The story itself was okay, but nothing about it grabbed my attention. And I was really hoping the music would be more inspired by the setting. But I guess playing it safe and generic pays off when it means you can pull in such a broad scope of people into the seats.