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Could Walt Disney Animation Studios ‘Frozen’ Save Norway Pavilion at EPCOT

Back in 2010 we heard about Disney putting the brakes on production of the modern update of a Norwegian legend, The Snow Queen. But a few months ago work slowly began again on the project, this time with a new name – Frozen. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are set to voice the lead roles. Robert Lopez and Kristin Anderson Lopez will pen the music. You might recall their names from Broadway’s Avenue Q and Book of Morman, but Disney fans will know their work on the Finding Nemo Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney recently confirmed that the story would be inspired by the beauty of Norway, even if not being specific about the location or time. But it makes me wonder, why don’t they commit to Norway as the setting. EPCOT would then have an excuse to upgrade the Norway pavilion which has long been without a sponsorship commitment.

I have been enjoying the concept art that has been leaking out the last few days. Some of it is from the Snow Queen, so it may not make it into Frozen.

Frozen should blow into theaters in 2013. What do you think so far?

22 thoughts on “Could Walt Disney Animation Studios ‘Frozen’ Save Norway Pavilion at EPCOT”

  1. Saving a pavilion at EPCOT seems like a horrible reason to make a movie. Or a great reason to make a horrible movie.

  2. Maybe Norway should get some of the other country’s of the area and make a conglomerate approach. Add Sweden, Finland, Denmark… bring in the stories of the area!

  3. Honestly, I don’t expect it to do well at all. The concept art reminds me of Atlantis and how poor it seemed to me. With that said, it seems like a perfect reason not to commit to saying that it’s based in Norway because they may not want to make the Norway pavilions existence rely on the success or failure of this one single movie. As for Robynne’s comment, it will most likely be CGI. Animation studios don’t really know how to make hand drawn animations anymore. It’s too expensive and takes longer to make. Chances are they are going to use CGI since it has a release date of next year. That would be my expectation. I hope to be wrong with that, but it just seems that CGI is the way to go with it.

    1. You haven’t been watching new instances of hand-drawn animation on TV, have you? Froot Loops, Tony the Tiger in Frosted Flakes, Raid pesticide spray, McDonald’s Happy Meal in 2012, Abilify… No one’s abandoning the medium! Though I do wonder how they keep it alive, like how Japan keeps anime (or as it was once called, Japanimation) alive.

    2. “Animation studios don’t really know how to make hand drawn animations anymore. It’s too expensive and takes longer to make. Chances are they are going to use CGI since it has a release date of next year.”

      The Princess and the Frog had a budget of $105 million and Winnie the Pooh had about $90 million. Compare that to Tangled’s $260 million budget. Tangled cost more than both of those movies combined. Tangled was also in production for six years. To compare, Kung-Fu Panda, another CGI film, took about four year to make, which is usually the average time span of a traditionally animated movie. If you’re implying that studios go for CGI because it’s cheaper and faster to make, you are highly mistaken.

      Also Disney IS making a hand drawn film in the future, directed by Musker and Clements, as this blog posted a while back. This movie just isn’t one of them.

      1. Production cost figures are really hard to compare – nobody really knows how they have been calculated (260 million for Tangled, e.g., is just a rumour). One figure includes studio overhead (regardless of the actual costs – Tangled…) , the second one does not, while the third one includes marketing – and so on… Pooh probably cost no more than 30 million (not 90), by the way…)

  4. My concern is with the choice of composers. I think the forgettable music of Randy Newman is what held Princess and the Frog back in popularity. I have yet to be impressed with the work of Lopez and Lopez. The Whole New World theme at The Seas With Nemo and at DAK is so uninspired. They should stick with Menken and Slater until another team has proven worthy to join the Disney fold.

    1. Thank you! I can’t stand the music from Ave Q or Nemo the Musical. It sounds like a 5 year old child just singing whatever he feels like:) I did like The Princess and the Frog a lot.

  5. It’s based upon a DANISH story, by DANISH writer Hans Christian Andersen (Little Mermaid). There’s no reason why it should be in the Norway pavillion.

  6. I wholeheartedly disagree with the music at the Finding Nemo Musical being uninspired–Everytime I see the show I think to myself that I would pay Broadway Musical prices to see it and then spend the rest of my vacation singing “In this big blue wooorlllddd….”

  7. “As for Robynne’s comment, it will most likely be CGI” – of course it will be CGI, it has been officially announced as CGI by Disney *months ago*…

  8. Not positive that I agree with the premise that the Norway pavilion needs “saving.” I think Disney is just content at this point to leave World Showcase “as is.” Maybe update a ride or movie here or there, add in the virtual games, tinker with restaurants and stands, but no major upgrades. If anything, this will be a better excuse for why there is a princess meal in Norway. Instead of “because nobody wanted to eat at the Norway restaurant otherwise” it could be “the Snow Queen is inviting her friends over for dinner” (like the “Tiana invited all her princess friends to stay with her” wackiness in the new PO Riverside backstory.)

  9. I’m always generally excited for new animated films to come out. I honestly don’t know what anyone means by “helping the Norway Pavillion”. To my knowledge, it is still one of the most frequently visited because it has a ride as well as the Princess meet and greet in the restaurant located in the pavillion (that is ALWAYS booked solid).

    I can see it be hand drawn but not necessarily Cel made. Its much easier on materials to make the film via tablets that are connected to the computer. As sucky as an answer that makes, it does provide a much lower budget.

  10. Great discussion here… Thanks John!

    My two cents are… The day they use a Disney movie for an attraction in the World Showcase, is the end of the World Showcase. I’m still not happy with Nemo taking over the Living Seas Pavilion. That is not what EPCOT is all about.

    As for Norway… make a nice movie about how they have the highest standard of living in the world and then move the princesses back to the magic kingdom (where they belong) and give me back my 20 versions of pickled herring! Uff da!

  11. But that doesn’t make it a Norwegian legend. It’s a fairy tale written by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen.

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