“Billion Dollar Baby”: Will Frozen Take Disney in a New Direction?

November 1st, 2013 @ 20:51:56

According to recent estimates, Disney‘s latest animated feature film Frozen has already passed the $300 million mark at the US box office. Add to this its takings around the world and it has grossed around $655.2 million worldwide, putting it well on its way to becoming the highest grossing animated Disney film in history. An insider source told Deadline that Frozen may well become Disney’s “billion dollar baby”.

In the US, Frozen is currently in its eighth week of release and is still showing at over 3,200 venues over this weekend. Worldwide, it has yet to open in some countries, including Korea, China and Japan. In many countries, including the UK, Russia and Mexico, it has already become the highest grossing Disney Studios Animation (in the UK alone it has currently earned over £30 million). But it’s not only Frozen’s box office sales that are soaring. Its soundtrack has also reached number one on the Billboard charts and, as Deadline points out, its Christmassy vibe seems to offer it as a natural choice for a new Broadway musical to be shown during the festive season, following on from the success of other big Disney stage shows like The Lion King.

Attributing it to a combination of top quality filmmaking and the fact that it was amongst a limited number of family films showing during the Christmas holiday, Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios’ Distribution EVP, spoke of the movie’s success:

“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. 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. Quality storytelling and creating memorable characters with heart ultimately transcends language and culture which is why we are seeing strong business internationally.”

Frozen-Movie-Anna-Elsa-HD-Wallpaper1One of the most interesting things about Frozen’s success is that the film represents a move away from the primarily romantic, prince and princess-focused plots for which Disney has become famous. With this in mind, it’s also interesting to note that the other contenders for the top spot amongst Disney’s animated offerings by and large share this difference. The current top three money-makers internationally are Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo and The Lion King. Similarly, following these are other Pixar films like Monsters Inc.Up and The Incredibles. While some, like Frozen, include romantic elements, these are all films that centre mainly on the themes of family and/or friendship. Even adjusted for inflation, these films still all make the top 25 (The Lion King is here followed by Fantasia and The Jungle Book and beaten to the top spot only by 101 Dalmations and the first ever full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). Yet what makes Frozen still more unique is that its focal relationship is a positive one between two female characters, a trait it so far shares only with Brave. Let’s hope that its achievement will lead to an even greater level of diversity in Disney’s future stories.

Sources: Deadline | Box Office Mojo | Pajiba

Frozen is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray.

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