Frozen, the animated musical from Walt Disney Studios Animation, has slid past the $300M mark domestically, according to estimates Tuesday night. The film is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing Disney Animation release in history … one insider said it could become their Billion dollar baby. This, of course, begs the question — will Frozen‘s huge success take it all the way to the Great White Way? It a natural for Disney. The soundtrack just hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart today and the film itself seems custom-made for a stage presentation for a holiday season as soon as the ice freezes in Rockefeller Center. “There’s been no discussion on doing that with Frozen yet, but we are obviously aware how powerful it is and how powerful the music is,” said one top Disney executive. At present, Disney is prepping for Aladdin which bows on Broadway on March 20th. And, as everyone knows, The Lion King has become a huge success — for a while a permanent fixture — on Broadway, winning six Tony Awards and playing throughout the country and on stages worldwide (in many territories). It has, as of year-end 2013, become the first Broadway show ever with $1B in cume gross; it has been running 17 years to pass Les Miserables as the 4th longest running show on Broadway. So, it would make sense for Frozen to follow in its footsteps to become the next worldwide juggernaut. The Lion King box office success also spawned two direct-to-video films, a spinoff TV series and several video games. In fact, the previous record-holder at the worldwide box office for Disney was the original The Lion King, which in 1994 ended up with a total gross on its initial run of $313M domestically and $452M internationally for a total worldwide cume of $765M.
To date, Frozen has grossed an estimated $655.2M worldwide and the picture is still playing on 3,318 screens going into the weekend. Overseas, there are still a number of major territories yet to open – Korea (on Jan 16.), Japan (on March 15) and China, which may bow before Japan, but has yet to be determined. If Frozen continues on its run, it may also become the highest grossing non-sequel Disney/Pixar title (the sequel, Toy Story 3 is still the leader). Frozen actually could surpass Finding Nemo, which took in $340M and $528M on its initial run for a worldwide total of $868M. Both Lion King and Finding Nemo had re-issues in 3D formats which pushed their lifetime box office take even higher. The Lion King’s final worldwide cume was $987.4M; Finding Nemo ended at $936.7M worldwide. “It was a super rare feat for Frozen to return to the top spot after its initial opening which puts it line with Avatar and Titanic, and if you are ever mentioned in a sentence with them, you know there is something going right,” said Dave Hollis, EVP of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios. He attributed its success to quality filmmaking and also being one of the few family films that audiences had to choose from over the holiday. “It was a snowball effect. It had more momentum as time went by. It all began with a really great story and creative excellence, and if you think about it, that is the foundation on which the company was built,” he said. “Quality storytelling and creating memorable characters with heart ultimately transcends language and culture which is why we are seeing strong business internationally.” Frozen has already become the highest grossing Disney Studios Animation picture of all time in Russia, the UK, and Mexico, with Italy and Spain having just surpassed Universal’s Despicable Me 2 run, he noted. The picture also had the biggest opening for a Disney animated film in Brazil.
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