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Box Office: ‘Frozen II’ Eyes Dazzling $100 Million-Plus Debut

Disney’s “Frozen II” is gearing up for an ice-shattering opening weekend ahead of Thanksgiving.

The sequel to the hit “Frozen” is projected to earn over $100 million when it launches on Nov. 22, according to early tracking. Though “Frozen II” is expected to gobble up the competition during the Thanksgiving frame, it will have to contend with new offerings, including Sony’s Mister Rogers film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and STX’s drama “21 Bridges.”

A triple-digit debut for “Frozen II” would be a jump on the original. The 2013 animated musical-adventure launched over Thanksgiving, generating $67.4 million over the weekend and a record-setting $93.6 million through its first five days of release. “Frozen” became a box office sensation, ending its theatrical run with a massive $1.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales — still the biggest haul ever for an animated title. Aside from permanently engraining tunes like “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” in the minds of audiences across the globe, “Frozen’s” accolades also include two Oscars and a Tony-nominated Broadway musical.

If estimates hold, “Frozen II” would set a new benchmark for Walt Disney Animation’s biggest opening weekend to date (not including Pixar), a distinction currently held by 2016’s “Zootopia” with $75.1 million. It could also become the first animated movie to open to more than $100 million outside of summer.

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Given the success of the first, anticipation for Princesses Anna and Elsa’s on-screen reunion could boost ticket sales even higher as the studio ramps up marketing efforts over the next three weeks. However, that kind of brand familiarity can inflate box office tracking for follow-ups to popular franchises. Earlier this year, Disney’s “Toy Story 4” elicited headlines for a softer-than-expected opening weekend, despite its series-best $118 million start. That means even if “Frozen II” falls short of the most bullish prognostications, it will likely be very profitable for Disney.

“Frozen II” sees royal sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) venture far from their kingdom of Arendelle. They are joined by some familiar faces like Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad). Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are all returning for “Frozen II.”

With “Frozen II” expected to collect a turkey’s share of box office spoils, fellow new releases could be fighting for scraps. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” another buzzy title that’s generating Oscar buzz, is eyeing a start near $20 million. Sony is couching expectations by suggesting a $15 million debut, given increased competition over the holidays.

Tom Hanks stars as TV personality Fred Rogers in the feel-good film, which should have a long life in theaters through the Christmas season. Based on Tom Junod’s article “Can You Say…’Hero’?,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” chronicles the real-life friendship that forms after a skeptical journalist (Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” star. Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) directed the film, which carries a $25 million price tag.

The final new nationwide release that weekend is “21 Bridges,” an action thriller starring Chadwick Boseman as a detective who shuts down New York City to find two suspects. Frequent Marvel collaborators Joe and Anthony Russo produced the movie, which was directed by Brian Kirk.

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