One of the biggest movies of the holiday season arrived at the Milaca Theater the same day it debuted nationwide.
“Frozen 2,” the long-awaited sequel to the original Disney hit from 2013, debuted at Milaca’s 386-seat theater to a huge crowd.
It’s the story of Elsa the snow queen and her sister, Anna, embarking on an adventure far away from their kingdom and Arendelle. They are joined once again by their friends Kristoff, Olaf and Sven.
“We were extremely excited to have ‘Frozen 2’ for the nationwide release,” said Jessie Wright, who has owned Milaca Theater with husband, Bill, for three years.
“Movies like this bring in so many familiar faces and also so many new faces from those who travel special to Milaca for our low ticket prices. We are so proud to welcome all to our theater and town.”
The show played to record crowds over its opening weekend with shows on Friday and Saturday night along with a Saturday matinee. Nationwide, the film brought in an estimated $127 million and $350 million worldwide during that period.
News of Elsa’s arrival to Milaca’s big screen led to a bit of a frenzied week for the Wrights. Phones were ringing, their Facebook page was peppered with visits and “likes,” and their email inbox was flooded.
Moviegoers have inquired about how they can find the theater’s app for buying advance tickets.
The theater doesn’t have an app, meaning people have to get in the old-fashioned way – get there early and wait in line. Wright recommends getting to the theater 45 minutes before a popular movie starts.
“People are messaging us about pre-buying tickets,” Bill Wright said. “We are a small theater. We run a simple operation, so, unfortunately, we do not presell tickets. When we bring in potential record-breaking movies such as ‘Frozen 2,’ we expect very large crowds and stress coming early, so we open the doors 40-45 minutes early. Our goal is to have everyone seated before the 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. movie starts.
“If we have 100 people in line (30 minutes) before the show, we can easily do that. If we have 100 people show up (10 minutes) before, then it’s a challenge,” he said.
Landing “Frozen 2” on opening weekend is a big accomplishment for the small theater, which Bill Wright says “you’re likely to miss if you drive through town and are looking at the water tower.”
Smaller theaters often must wait several weeks to show the more popular shows, he added.
“We are so fortunate to such an amazing supportive community for our small town theater,” Jessie Wright said. “Studios like Disney have noticed, so when we request big movies like ‘Frozen 2’ we can usually get them.”
Disney requirements mean the movie will only be in Milaca through Dec. 10.
Arriving early also will help ensure movie-goers can pick up a bucket of some of the theater’s famous popcorn.
“We have a small admissions/concessions area we can get a lot of people through quickly, but it does take time,” Jessie Wright said. “Our goal is to always have everyone seated before the feature presentation starts; it is much easier to do that with the crowds we are expecting with this movie if they start coming early.”