Will 'Frozen' Hit $1 Billion Globally?

on January 30, 2014


By Daniel Loria

Frozen has an outside shot at becoming the next billion dollar global earner for Disney. The Walt Disney Animation release crossed the $800 million global mark last weekend with two big overseas markets remaining on its schedule: China on February 5 and Japan on March 15. BoxOffice looks at the film's financial prospects in the coming weeks:

North America

A sing-along version of Frozen will screen in 2,057 of the 2,754 theaters showing the animated film this weekend and is already leading ticket sales for online seller Fandango. The new version is expected to become a box office catalyst as the film goes after the $400 million mark domestically, a number it will have to reach in order to contend for the billion-dollar mark globally. The Super Bowl will likely cut into the weekend's Sunday numbers despite the promising early ticket sales online. Frozen has a realistic chance to hit $380 million in North America but it will depend on the lasting success of the sing-along version to lift it to $400 million.


Animated films have ruled the Chinese box office in 2014 with Despicable Me 2 and local title Boonie Bears sharing the top spot over the first three weekends of the year. Walt Disney Animation couldn't muster up a hit with its previous Chinese release, Wreck-It Ralph, and walked away with a very modest $10 million take from the market. Monsters University fared better with a $34 million tally, a closer number to what Frozen can expect from China. A release during the Chinese New Year helps Frozen's financial prospects in China, but don't count on the film matching the $50 million-plus performance of Despicable Me 2 in the market. A $35 million cume from China is a safe bet for Frozen, a number which could go up to $40 million if it can provide solid holds late in its run.


Wreck-It Ralph took a $3.6 million debut from a similar release date last year, finishing its Japanese run with a $30 million cume. That figure fits in with a larger trend for comparable titles in Japan; Despicable Me 2 took $24 million from the market and Tangled finished its run with a $31 million total. Monsters University is a monster exception to this trend, but the Disney/Pixar prequel has to be considered an anomaly after claiming a blockbuster $90 million run in Japan. Frozen should provide a slight improvement over Ralph, Despicable Me 2, and Tangeld with an estimated $35 million total.

Remaining Overseas Markets

Frozen took $16.7 million from 16 territories in its overseas premiere. The film hasn't registered an overseas weekend under the $20 million mark since.

Frozen - Overseas Weekend Performance

  • WEEKEND 1: $16.7M - 16 Territories
  • WEEKEND 2: $30.6M - 23 Territories
  • WEEKEND 3: $31.5M - 25 Territories
  • WEEKEND 4: $35.1M - 33 Territories
  • WEEKEND 5: $50.5M - 43 Territories
  • WEEKEND 6: $52.5M - 49 Territories
  • WEEKEND 7: $27.8M - 50 Territories
  • WEEKEND 8: $24.6M - 52 Territories
  • WEEKEND 9: $20.2M - 52 Territories

Frozen's overseas numbers have been winding down over the first three weekends of the year. The film should continue its steady dip in form in the coming weeks, but it can expect about another $50 million from its current list of territories. Frozen could realistically finish its overseas run in the $590 million range but it will need around $600 million overseas to contend for the $1 billion global mark.

Tags: Frozen

  • S. Cam said on January 30, 2014 07:49 PM

    Tangled earned only $31M in Japan because of the earthquake that devastated the country, a few days prior to its release. I think a bet higher than $40M is safer. Also, don't forget Sweden, where it's opening this weekend. It should muster $10M from there. I also think it can earn at least in $60M in all other territories (except US, Japan, China and Sweden), since South Koreaa is going into New Year weekend. By the way, it earned $7-8M overseas on Monday and Tuesday, so another $6M for Wednesday and Thursday means really strong holds will follow this weekend in numerous territories. For China, $40M is kind of what you could hope for since Despicable Me 2, Boonie Bears and Free Birds (opening this weekend) will have satiated demand for animated films. $40M + $40M + $10M + $60M + $462.5M = $612.5M. Thus it only needs $387.5M in North America. Comparing Frozen's performance with either Toy Story 2 or Tangled's trajectory (i.e. their grosses after the post-MLK weekend) predicts a total north of $390M. I am definite it will be a very close call, as it currently is for Despicable Me 2. But the truth is Disney will do whatever is possible to reach $1 billion. Winning the Oscar for animated films will definitely help. That, along with the sing-along version of the film, show just how desperately they will pursue this goal.

  • S. Cam said on January 30, 2014 08:00 PM

    Giving it a better thought, I think $40M in China is too high with so much sompetition. Prove me wrong, but I'm lowering that to $35M. Also, Cars 2 made $38M in Japan. There is absolutely no way Frozen could earn less than Cars 2. I say $50M for Japan, which is along the lines of Up and The Incredibles (a reasonable expectation).

  • mfantin65 said on January 30, 2014 10:05 PM

    Last week's increase in South Korea may prove that a leggy run north of 50 million and portend a huge success in Japan where musicals do exceptional box office like S Korea. See Les Mis.
    With just 20% drops in the US, Frozen was already on pace for 400 million. With the sing along, it may challenge Hunger Games.
    An additional 160m+ from S Korea 40m, Japan 50m, China 50m and remaining territories is likely.
    N. America. 420m.
    International. 620m
    1.1 is billion possible if it really takes off in Japan and China

    • S. Cam said on January 30, 2014 11:35 PM

      You have a really good point about musicals. They are very popular in Japan and South Korea (if you judge by looking at Les Mis grosses). This is what makes Japan a contender for at least $50M, a number which is also a reasonable expectation for the final gross in South Korea. But in China, there's a different situation. I think $50M is too much, cuz the animated films are so many at this point. Also musicals aren't as popular. Furthermore, keep in mind that The Lego Movie could result in a steeper-than-expected drop for Frozen next weekend. That being said, $420M sounds like a stretch to be honest. 10 weeks is a long time so if this weekend isn't another breakout hit, like $15M+, a lot of cinemas will stop showing Frozen next weekend. I believe that your prediction is plausible, yet unlikely. We'll have to wait and see, although that's easier said than done.

      • mfantin65 said on February 01, 2014 08:54 PM

        It looks like S Korea will be at 45m by tomorrow after another weekly increase. 80m possible there now. Animation often does much larger business in Japan; MU - 90m, TS3 - 125m than SK, and both countries have higher box office for musicals. With these stats in mind I have to assume Japan will do more. I'll go out on a limb and predict Japan to at least match TS3's 125m.
        Sweden could double Tangled's 8m..
        I agree about China you never know there. It could be boom or bust.
        Lego won't affect frozen and will continue w small declines.
        N America 425
        OS. 735
        Total. 1170
        Its a reach but that's the fun of prediction!
        We'll know in 2 months time.

  • S. Cam said on January 31, 2014 10:58 AM

    Based on weekday numbers published by Screen Daily, Frozen has made $475.5M by Wednesday. That is $475.5 - $462.5 = $13M (in 3 days). It looks like another $4-4.5M for Thursday for a total of $480M. With CNY in South Korea and an opening in Sweden, Frozen will probably reach $500M on Sunday. Plus at around $9.5-10M this weekend in North America, for a $360M total. Worldwide grosses will shoot past $850M and can definitely reach $860M. Might even surpass The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is at $858.4M but which could also cross $860M this weekend.

  • WhySoMad said on February 02, 2014 09:52 AM

    HOLY FRICK YES. FROZEN <3 I'm in love with this movie. I'm so happy it's doing well - $1B is possible too. I think the numbers will end up looking something like this:
    North America: $40 million more ($390 million total)
    China: $40 million
    Japan: $55 million
    South Korea: $30 million more
    The rest: $60 million more ($500 million total)
    = $1.015 BILLION -- Highest grossing original animated film, outpacing even the Lion King and Find Nemo. Second only to Toy Story 3.
    I think i'm being pretty optimistic, but with a movie this good, Disney should keep racking in the money.

  • mfantin65 said on February 09, 2014 09:54 PM

    1 billion by March 2. S Korea now on pace for 100m. Could that mean Japan to 150m?
    Iron man 3 may have a challenger!

  • WhySoMad said on February 13, 2014 11:42 PM

    Woaww... Frozen's going to the top 10 Worldwide All-time. Thats ridiculous considering the $400-$500 million estimates it had on it's release.

  • WhySoMad said on March 02, 2014 07:42 PM


  • S. Cam said on April 08, 2014 09:34 AM

    Well done predicting that. But now Frozen is headed for 6th place worldwide, ahead of Transformers 3. Nothing can stop this movie.

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