By Brian Stelter
Just how big is Disney's "Frozen" franchise?
Disney (DIS) announced the milestone on Sunday after a weekend's worth of box office receipts were tallied in Japan. (The movie opened in theaters there on March 14.)
At the same time, "Frozen" became one of the top ten highest-grossing movies of all time. It bumped another Disney flick, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," out of the top ten.
The records don't take inflation or higher ticket prices into account. Still, it was a huge achievement for Disney and a demonstration of the enduring power of big media companies to create big new franchises -- even in a fragmented media marketplace.
Disney bragged in a press release that the movie "remained in the top 10 films at the domestic box office for 16 consecutive weeks, the longest run by any film since 2002."
What's striking about "Frozen" is how it continues to resonate, thanks in part to "Let It Go," which won the Oscar for best original song.
"Frozen" also won the Oscar for best animated feature -- marking the first time that Walt Disney Animation Studios picked up that award. The Oscar wins were perfectly timed for the DVD release of the movie.
Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, celebrated "Frozen" at the company's annual shareholder meeting last month. By then, it was clear that the movie would beat "Toy Story 3," it was only a matter of when.
"As you know, animation has always been the heart and soul of Disney; and with the phenomenal global success of Frozen we have achieved one of our most important goals – returning Disney to its rightful place as one of the greatest animation studios in the world," Iger said.
"We couldn't be any prouder of this movie or this historic achievement," he added.
Shareholders are happy too. Disney's stock is up more than 40% in the past year and is just 3% below its all-time high.
While "Frozen" isn't the only reason for Disney's success on Wall Street, the resurgence of the company's animation studio obviously isn't hurting. And with Fortune reporting in January that a Broadway version of "Frozen" could be in the cards, Disney investors may be singing about Elsa, Anna and Olaf for years to come.
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