How Long Can ‘Frozen’ Fever Last for Disney?


Consumers still haven’t grown cold on “Frozen.”

The movie, which became the highest-grossing animated film after its release in November 2013, continues to play for Disney, this time in the retail aisle.

Merchandise tied to the toon was a significant seller for Disney, especially its Disney Stores, during the holidays, with the company’s consumer products division reporting a 22% boost in revenue and profits by 46% during the Mouse House’s first quarter of fiscal 2015, which ended Dec. 27.

“Frozen” merchandise may be hot, but it’s not the only property making money for Disney’s consumer products arm.

Disney counts 11 franchises that made $1 billion in retail sales last year and are expected to do so again this year. That includes Disney Channel properties, Mickey and Minnie, Spider-Man and the Avengers. “Stars Wars” isn’t one of them yet, according to the company.

Without revealing specific financial figures, “I don’t think we can underestimate the impact that ‘Frozen’ has had across our company and all of our businesses,” said Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, during a call with analysts. “We absolutely believe this is the beginning of a long-term franchise for the company that will reflect itself across all of our divisions.”

Rasulo cautioned not to overestimate “Frozen’s” dominance, however.

“Many other franchises were contributors (last quarter) to the success of the consumer products division,” Rasulo said. “We like what ‘Frozen’ delivers, but it’s certainly not the only one for us. The consumer products business has a lot of breadth. ‘Frozen’ will continue to play a big part in it,” but isn’t yet such a dominant force that the company needs to worry about beating strong sales numbers each year.

Still, since making nearly $1.3 billion at the box office alone, “Frozen” has clearly cemented its place as one of Disney’s biggest franchises — one that it wants to continue to grow.

Disney already had announced “Frozen Fever” as a new animated short film that will reunite the toon’s characters on the bigscreen when it debuts in March in front of a live-action retelling of “Cinderella.”

The seven-minute short is expected to put another spotlight on “Frozen” and its characters.

“We actually believe it will generate some more buzz for ‘Frozen’ and generate more buying in terms of consumer products,” said Disney chief Bob Iger during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s strong first quarter results.

Disney continues to see post-holiday momentum when it comes to sales of “Frozen” merchandise, “which is unique,” said Iger, for any property during the weeks following Christmas. “It speaks to continued demand for our franchises.”

While Iger was high on Disney’s upcoming studio releases, particularly citing “Cinderella” as “a great film,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” also is expected to generate major sales of toys, apparel and other products tied to the Marvel sequel, as will “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — a film that opens in December and whose revenue will be counted at the start of Disney’s fiscal 2016 year. Pixar’s upcoming films, “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur,” are question marks, however.

“I don’t know if any one of theme will drive significant consumer products” sales, Iger said of the films that are based on original concepts.

Of its 11 billion-dollar franchises, Iger still sees “a great opportunity to mine these franchises across Disney’s (theme) parks,” he said.

“Frozen” already has a presence at its resorts, with “Frozen Fun” having debuted at its California parks in January, and its Epcot park revamping the Norwegian ride, “Malstrom,” around the toon.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 15

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Maggie goble says:

    Why can’t you make frozen fever longer than an hour I have kids that wanna watch the new frozen movie they wanna watch the new frozen fever movie longer than 8 minutes

    • Maggie goble says:

      Ima not spend over 20.00 for my kids to watch an 8 minutes frozen fever movie you should make it longer because know one is gonna buy an 8 minute movie please make it longer

  2. Vernette Griffee says:

    You’re right, but Pixar does the same thing, how many more Toy Stories do we have to see and how many Cars and how many Plains do we have to see? Same Characters, same Story just Different Backgrounds, oh hey, or turn the Cars into Plains, add a new song and their “Good To Go”! We are SO being Ripped Off!

  3. If I know Disney, just like every other Studio, will “milk” Frozen for every drop they can squeeze out of it. The movie itself was not that good but they really “Lucked Out” on the Music and Songs that seem to have “stuck” quite easily in the hearts of so many kids and adults much like most of the Disney Animated Movies have. The only thing, most of those movies have had great stories and great characters that have ingrained themselves into the hearts and minds of generations but of late it seems like it’s just been about how many times they can keep using these characters and stories and “maybe” just change the backgrounds and maybe a couple of new songs so they don’t have to spend any $$$ to make anything original, I for one am getting tired of the “Big Eyed” Female Characters too. They SUCK every “penny” out of them until parents have had enough spending $$$ to take the kids to see something they’ve seen 3 times before and it’s too uncomfortable falling asleep in those theater seats.

    • Hanover says:

      Disney films are now they’re SO unwatchable. I wanted out of Frozen like a tight, wet, itchy sweater. Pixar wears the crown now – and not just for Toy Story. Frozen, to me, is as analogous to Disney animation as the last 4 Star Wars movies are to the original. Same label, counterfeit product. But hey, making money is what’s important. So… yay.

    • Kicks McGee says:

      Frozen was “not that good” in your opinion, perhaps, but plenty of people praised the movie for its strong characters and unconventional story that changed way more than “just the backgrounds” (turning many tropes of the genre, such as the “heroic” prince and damsel in distress, on their heads). Plus a story and characters that spoke strongly to a lot of people with themes such as loneliness, self-confidence, sacrifice, and “true love” that includes family instead of just romance. Disney is shamelessly milking Frozen for all it’s worth with loads of cheap merchandise, yeah, but that’s not the movie’s fault. It deserves a lot of its popularity. Because, well, it’s good. Surprisingly so.

    • cinema11 says:

      Very true Vernette. One need look no further than how many of those Tinker-Belle video movies they keep putting out. They may be “unembarassing” but they are also pure pap. Kids deserve better.

      • Yes, cinema11, the adults deserve better too, after all we are the ones that grew up on the “Real Thing”, the “Best of the Best”. It’s not just what we see in theaters but the real trash is what’s passing as animation on TV, it’s horrifying some of it and how do they get away with calling it “Animation” there’s very little animation in them. How do they call it animation when a character “flies” across the screen and that’s ALL it does is FLY across the screen, they take a still shot and move it across the screen with no other action other than that one “MOVE”? Do I have you tell “I LOVE Animation” that’s why what’s been happening the past 10yrs. is REALLY disturbing to me, the digital world has so many wonderful aspects about it but with the true sense of animation the emotions of the animated characters are the by-product of what’s going on inside the animator. Those emotions imbed themselves in those blank sheets of paper, the lines actually move because the energy of the animator makes them move, the ARTIST, the HUMAN BEING, the HEART and the SOUL of a HUMAN BEING. There’s a real difference between an ARTIST and a Technician, a difference between someone who’s totally intuned with their body and how it moves, they understand every impulse that creates a movement, something a technician has never cared to understand. I Love Animation and I want REAL Animation back again.

  4. cinema11 says:

    Screw Disney. The greedy nits would not even allow American home video customers the chance to own it on 3D Blu-Ray…yet it’s offered to everyone else in the world! It won’t matter to them but I’m proud to no longer be purchasing their products.

  5. tommyflorida says:

    People will pay for genuine quality and are starved for content they don’t have to worry about being embarrassed by. And story still matters most. Walt Disney knew this and it continues today.

More Film News from Variety