Is The Princess and the Frog Disney’s next Franchise?

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Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger takes the 1980s idea of synergy that was perfected by the early Eisner and Wells administration to the next level with his concept of the Franchise.

I’m not talking Kevin Garnett for you NBA fans. Nor is it like Subway where where you sell the concept to others to develop for you. It’s more about finding a tent pole that’s tall enough and strong enough you can hang a tent big enough to cover nearly every aspect of your company (I don’t think I’ve seen any Princess Tiana tie-ins for ESPN… yet) and increase their sales as well.

Based on what I’m seeing in terms of merchandise and in park tie-ins, I think Iger has identified The Princess and The Frog as the next franchise for Disney. A story in the Orlando Sentinel, (full disclosure, I was interviewed for the piece), discusses how much Disney is counting on the frog princess to make it a few bucks

Mitchelson, the Deutsche Bank analyst, said the ancillary potential of The Princess and the Frog is so large that the best measure of its success won’t be box office results — it will be consumer-product sales.

“To the extent that The Princess and the Frog is only considered modestly successful from a film point of view, that doesn’t  mean it won’t be quite successful from the perspective of broadening the princess franchise,” he said.

A good point. It’s been 12 years since the last Princess was introduced, and that’s only if you include Mulan among the princesses. I personally classify her as a hero, along with Pocahontas.

Disney’s most recent franchise consumer products producer was ‘Cars’. While not a critical box office hit, Cars made somewhere north of $4 billion in merchandise sales for the mouse house. I don’t think we’ll see quite that much with Princess Tiana merchandise alone, but when you add in increased sales of other princess merchandise, you might get close.

As evidence, at the Magic Kingdom last night I again saw little girls already wearing the Princess Tiana dress even before the movie has been released. Princesses of all colors too as is befitting a movie that really is an American story.

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