Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Frozen": Disney's Future Plans

Smash Hit "Frozen" is Far From Done

Anna Elsa Disney Frozen
Anna and Elsa from "Frozen."
The soundtrack album for “Frozen” is the latest in the film's epic string of successes. As of this writing, it has now prevailed at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart for a fourth non-consecutive stanza. Given that the soundtrack albums from Disney hits have been good but not stellar performers on the charts since the height of the Disney Renaissance in the mid-1990s, this is truly impressive.

Disney’s "Frozen" cd held at the top of the Billboard charts with sales of 94,000 (up just 1%), according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Feb. 2, 2014. The picture itself has raked in $360.1 million domestically to date and hit screens Friday in a sing-along version. This reindeer still has a way to run.

That is just the beginning. “Frozen” has earned $865 million worldwide to date, and it continues to play well overseas, where it recently earned $45 million on 6 million views in Korea, the most for any Disney animated film there. It also opened in China this week and bows in Japan on March 15, 2014 - and those are major markets.

A billion-dollar animated film? Not out of the question.

But that, according to Disney, is just the beginning.

Disney’s Bob Iger said Wednesday that “Frozen” isn’t likely to thaw for Disney for a long time to come.

With the animated film surpassing “The Lion King” as Walt Disney Animation’s highest-grossing toon to date, the Mouse House is developing new ways to expand what it already considers a new franchise.

“There’s a lot of active development,” on new formats to capitalize on the success of “Frozen,” said Walt Disney Co. Chief Bob Iger. He was speaking on an earnings call to stock market analysts on February 5, 2014, to discuss the company’s strong first-quarter results. “You will see ‘Frozen’ in more places than you see today.” This will include an adaptation for Broadway, sequels, and integrations into Disney's theme parks, videogames, and other opportunities.

“This has real franchise potential,” Iger said. “We expect to see not just new product but continued interest in this and continued impact on the bottom line for quite a while. Its success speaks volumes on the future of animation at our company.”

“Frozen”-themed toys and other merchandise also were top sellers at Disney Stores during the last three months of the year, the company said. The company has previously stated that it intends to introduce both Anna and Elsa to its official roster of Disney Princesses during 2014.

Iger said the strong performance of “Frozen,” and “Tangled” before that, is in part the result of purchasing Pixar Animation Studios.

“When we bought Pixar, the goal was to rejuvenate Disney Animation under new leadership,” Iger said. John Lasseter now oversees the films that come out of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “Animation is the heart and soul of this company. It’s one of our most creative businesses.”

Planes poster

Lasseter, Iger seemed to be saying, has been doing a sterling job. Certainly, "Wreck-It Ralph," Disney's big 2012 hit, and "Tangled" before that were nice financial successes with continuous streams of revenue for the studio. Even this past summer's "Planes," which wasn't even originally intended for theaters, was a surprise hit for the studio in 2013 and led to the preparation of a sequel set for 2014.

"Frozen" is a real shot in the arm for Disney - and you ain't seen nothing yet.

Anna Elsa Disney Frozen


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