We always knew there was something extra special and magical about Disney’s 53rd Animated Feature, Frozen. Now, that movie has become the second animated film in history to reach the coveted $1 billion mark globally. What’s even more remarkable is that unlike other top earners like Toy Story 3 ($1.06B) and Despicable Me 2 ($970M), Frozen is a completely original movie, which really proves the strength of the movie’s story, characters, music and marketing. In this article, we’ll take a look at the factors which helped make Frozen Disney’s biggest in-house animated hit…ever!
THE STORY AND SETTING
One of the reasons Frozen turned out to be such a mammoth hit is its story. For once, the relationship between two sisters was the focus of a Disney movie, not the typical girl meet guy romance. What’s more, the magical winter setting was completely new and unique, making the movie a definite Christmas classic.
In Frozen, Disney had the golden opportunity to highlight not one but two princesses. Bubbly Anna and regal Elsa appealed to a wide audience, and even characters like Hans and Kristoff, Olaf and Sven have made their way into people’s hearts. The true mark of a Disney classic is the lasting appeal of the characters.
Grabbing much of the movie’s marketing spotlight was the endearing snowman Olaf. A character many fans thought to be annoying and unnecessary, turned out to be the heart of the movie. Olaf delivers many of the films’ laughs, and surprisingly a lot of the film’s emotion. Olaf has made his way into the pantheon of great Disney sidekicks, right up there with Timon and Pumbaa and the Genie. Obviously, Olaf was the main selling point for kids and people who like cute characters in their animated movies.
THE MUSIC AND “LET IT GO”
We had been hearing a lot of buzz about the music right since 2012, and when Frozen released, it blew everyone’s socks off with its phenomenal music. The Norwegian-inspired music provides a backdrop for the film. Songs like the boppy “Love Is An Open Door” and the soaring “Let It Go” make the movie unforgettable and a reason people wanted to experience the movie over and over again on the big screen.
“Let It Go” turned out to be a massive worldwide anthem. Everyone is singing it, and it plays on the radio all the time. In three months, it’s got over 100 million YouTube views. It’s a Top 20 hit, has sold over a million copies and has received a Platinum certification. And let’s not forget the Best Original Song Oscar. No small feat for an animated movie.
WORD OF MOUTH
Let’s face it, it’s been a long time since Disney has produced a musical of the caliber of Frozen. Although The Princess and the Frog and Tangled were solid musicals, Frozen knocked it out of the park, generating unprecedented buzz and word of mouth, the real measures of a movie’s success. People were excited like never before, leading to record box office numbers.
NO DIRECT COMPETITION
November 2013 didn’t really offer much in terms of compelling family entertainment. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was geared to older teens and adults, and Free Birds, well, never mind. Not to mention the fact that a Disney movie over Thanksgiving is practically tradition. As a result, Frozen was able to steamroll the competition and dominate the box office for weeks together.
A STRONG FAN BASE
Even months before Frozen released, it has developed a large, strong and passionate fan base, many of our readers (and ourselves) included. A strong indication that this movie was going to become the phenomenon it has snowballed into.
Disney knows how to sell a movie, and this was no different. The extraordinary success of Frozen prompted Disney to re-release it as a special sing-along event in January. As a result, fans were able to experience the movie once again and this time, sing along to their hearts’ content.
FROZEMBER (Hey, we helped!)
We can’t take all the credit, but we have to admit, our month-long celebration of Frozen in November (dubbed Frozember) turned out to generate buzz all over the web. People shared opinions about why they were (or weren’t!) excited for the movie. Discussions took place, arguments broke out. But we have to say, Frozember did it’s job of uniting the Frozen fanbase and succeeded in getting people pumped for the new Disney musical!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR FROZEN?
We’ll be discussing this in a full-length article soon, but for now, suffice to say that we haven’t seen the last of Frozen. A stage adaptation, theme park tie-ins and a possible sequel are in the works. We could even see spin-off series featuring Olaf. With $1 billion in box office revenue worldwide, two Oscar wins, and a cemented place in pop culture, Frozen is a bonafide sensation, which has put Disney Animation back on the radar.