Disney’s Frozen is the gift that keeps on giving for The Walt Disney Company. Just in theater box office sales it has earned over $400 million domestically, and $1.3 billion world wide. That doesn’t count the home video sales, which started while Frozen was still in theaters and the countless shipping containers of merchandise Disney is importing daily just to keep up with the demand. It’s also become a pretty big draw for the parks with Disney rushing to add Frozen elements on both the right and left coasts.
The New Yorker has turned on some of that famous long form journalism charm to take a look at exactly what made Frozen such a phenomenon.
So what does all of this mean for “Frozen”? On the one hand, the movie shares many typical story elements with other Disney films. There are the parents dead within the first ten minutes (a must, it seems, in Disney productions), royalty galore, the quest to meet your one true love, the comic-relief character (Olaf the Snowman) to punctuate the drama. Even the strong female lead isn’t completely new—think “Mulan” and “Brave.” But “Frozen,” it seems, has something more.
The story goes into a lot of depth, film theory, and even ponders the question of how replicable this feat is for Disney. The answer, it seems, comes down to Story. Since getting full access to the Pixar brain trust, the Walt Disney Animation Studios has been on a mission to make story driven animated features. “Wreck-it Ralph” was a great example and “Frozen” another. The next two films “Big Hero 6” and “Zootopia” also promise to be story driven movies.
What is it about Walt Disney Animation Studios most recent slate of films that sets them apart from others in the industry right now?