Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Back in Box Office Lead in 7th Week

“Frozen,” Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s animated movie about two princesses in an icy world, returned to the top spot in ticket sales in its seventh weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Frozen” generated $19.6 million for the weekend, toppling “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which had held the lead for three weeks, researcher Rentrak Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement. “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” the horror sequel from Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures, had $18.3 million for second place in its debut.

With this past weekend’s haul, “Frozen” has taken in $296.7 million in domestic theaters, second to only Universal Pictures’ “Despicable Me 2” for an animated movie released in 2013. The film benefited from favorable reviews and a holiday release schedule light on family-friendly competition.

“People are getting from the movie exactly what they wanted,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for researcher BoxOffice.com. “It’s very impressive.”

“Frozen,” which last led the box office on the weekend ended Dec. 8, was made for $150 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It was projected to take in $20 million this past weekend, according to BoxOffice.com. It’s only the seventh movie in 30 years to finish or jump back into the top position while in its seventh week of release, putting it in the company of such films as “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Silkwood.”

Only Debut

The film is the biggest hit for Disney’s namesake animation division since “The Lion King” in 1994, highlighting a resurgence at the studio, which is churning out hits again with the success of “Tangled” in 2010 and “Wreck-It Ralph” in 2012.

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” the fifth installment in the low-cost horror series, was the only debut in wide release this past weekend. Like its predecessors, the movie eschews gore and special effects for suspense.

The new film introduces new characters by shifting to a group of Latino teenagers in an apartment complex. When a reclusive woman in the complex dies, the teenagers discover a sinister plot.

The film garnered a 45 percent positive rating by RottenTomatoes.com, a review aggregator.

‘Hobbit’ Film

Low-cost horror has been an effective strategy for Paramount and for Hollywood. The first four films in the “Paranormal Activity” franchise cost about $13 million total and generated $720.7 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

The new movie was projected to take in $13 million for Paramount, according to BoxOffice.com.

Among returning films, “The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of three films based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, made $15.7 million to take third place for Warner Bros. and MGM Holdings Inc. The film, released on Dec. 13, has generated $756.1 million worldwide. Its predecessor produced $1.02 billion in its theatrical run, with 70 percent internationally.

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, collected $13.2 million in its second weekend to place fourth. The movie, featuring DiCaprio as the central character, follows the real-life rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, who founded the 1990s firm Stratton Oakmont Inc. and spent 22 months in prison for securities fraud.

‘American Hustle’

The movie has garnered Golden Globe nominations for best comedy and best actor in a comedy.

“American Hustle,” a fictionalized account of a 1970s scandal, took in $12.4 million for Sony Corp. (6758) in its fourth weekend to place fifth. The movie, featuring Christian Bale, was nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards.

Weekend revenue for the top 10 films rose 2.1 percent to $118.9 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said.

The following table has U.S. movie box office figures provided by studios to Rentrak Corp. (RENT) The amounts are based on gross ticket sales from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5.

                       Rev.  Pct.             Avg./   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Chg. Theaters  Theater   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 Frozen             $19.6  -32    3,318   $5,900   $296.7    7
 2 Paranormal Activity 18.3   --    2,867    6,398     18.3    1
 3 Hobbit              15.7  -46    3,730    4,202    229.1    4
 4 Wolf Of Wall Street 13.2  -28    2,557    5,174     63.1    2
 5 American Hustle     12.4  -34    2,518    4,926     87.9    4
 6 Anchorman 2         10.6  -46    3,407    3,121    108.7    3
 7 Saving Mr. Banks     8.7  -35    2,110    4,121     59.0    4
 8 Walter Mitty         8.0  -37    2,922    2,738     45.5    2
 9 Hunger Games         7.1  -30    2,143    3,290    407.1    7
10 Grudge Match         5.3  -24    2,856    1,865     24.8    2

Top 10 Films Grosses:

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $118.9         $116.5     +2.1


Year-to-date Revenue:

     2014          2013
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
     $226          $218       +3.9

Source: Rentrak Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Livesey in San Francisco at blivesey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.