After seven weeks in theaters, Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE:DIS) Frozen is poised to reclaim the number one spot at the weekend box office at least once more with analyst projections showing the film earning almost $24 million for the three-day take, Bloomberg reports.
Early projections still show Disney’s Frozen neck-and-neck with Paramount’s (NASDAQ:VIA) new horror film, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, especially after Friday returns showed the horror film bringing in a higher-than-expected $8.8 million, but it looks like Frozen will still eke out a victory once younger audiences arrive en masse on Saturday and Sunday. With Friday’s box office considered, Deadline now estimates a $23.7 million take for Frozen, $18.8 million for The Marked Ones, and $18 million for Warner Bros.’ (NYSE:TWX) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The continued box office strength of Frozen is more good news for the Disney animation unit that has experienced a huge resurgence in recent years after taking a backseat to Pixar. Frozen has now earned $284 million domestic and $267 million overseas for a worldwide total of $551 million. The film is expected to cross the $300 million domestic cume by Sunday.
The success of Frozen has also led to huge merchandise sales for Disney, which says that two of three snowman Olaf plush toys have sold out at Disney stores. Overall, Frozen-related merchandise has accounted for half of the top-25 selling Disney store items over the holiday season, according to the Burbank, California-based company.
The breakout success of Frozen follows other recent hits from Disney’s animation division, including 2010′s Tangled and 2012′s Wreck-It-Ralph, which earned $591 million and $471 million at the worldwide box office, respectively. But Frozen appears poised to exceed the box office totals of both of those titles along with earning the kind of critical acclaim the unit has not seen in nearly two decades.
Phil Contrino, chief analyst for BoxOffice.com, explains that Frozen’s strong run at the box office “proves that word of mouth after a film opens can be immensely more powerful than the marketing blitz that happens before release.” And according to Rentrak data, only six films since 1984 have risen or returned to number one at the box office after seven weeks.
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