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Frozen underwent numerous story treatments for several years, before finally being commissioned in 2011, with a screenplay written by Jennifer Lee, and both Chris Buck and she serving as the directors of the film. The film features the voices of Kristen Bell as Anna and Idina Menzel as her older sister Elsa the Snow Queen, in both speaking and singing roles, along with Jonathan Groff playing the role of mountain man Kristoff, Josh Gad as Olaf the Snowman, and Santino Fontana as Prince Hans of the Southern Isles. Christophe Beck, who had worked on Walt Disney Animation Studios' award-winning short Paperman, was hired to compose the film's score, while husband-and-wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the original songs.
Frozen premiered at the El Capitan Theatre on November 19, 2013 and went into general theatrical release on November 27 in the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. It was met with widespread acclaim from critics and audiences, and some film critics considered Frozen to be the best Disney animated feature film and musical since the studio's renaissance era. The film was also a commercial success; it accumulated over $1.2 billion in worldwide box office revenue, $400 million of which were earned in the United States and Canada and $247 million of which were earned in Japan. It's ranked as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the ninth highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing film of 2013, and the third highest-grossing film in Japan. It is also the fourth highest grossing Walt Disney Studios film, after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Avengers and its sequel. Frozen won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("Let It Go"), the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film, five Annie Awards (including Best Animated Feature), and two Critics' Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("Let It Go").
A feature-length sequel is planned to follow.
The film begins with a crew of ice harvesters collecting ice out from a frozen lake in the Scandinavian mountains ("Frozen Heart"). Among them is an 8-year old boy named Kristoff Bjorgman, and his reindeer calf Sven, who try to emulate the harvesters but are always shut out. After collecting enough ice, the harvesters load it onto their sled and depart, headed for the town of Arendelle.
The scene changes to the castle in the Kingdom of Arendelle. That night, 5-year old Princess Anna is restless, so she tries to wake up her 8-year old sister Elsa to play. Elsa playfully brushes her sister off until Anna mischievously asks, "Do you want to build a snowman?", to which Elsa delightfully agrees.
The sisters run down to the ballroom and create a winter field of snow using Elsa's snow magic, enjoying their time with plenty of merriment. They build a snowman, who Elsa names Olaf, claiming "I like warm hugs!" The girls play gleefully with Olaf until Anna makes a leap as Elsa slips on the ice and the blast of power meant to create a pile of snow hits Anna in the head, knocking her unconscious and turning a streak of her hair platinum blonde. Their parents, King Agnarr and Queen Iduna rush in, responding to Elsa's cries of anguish. They check on Anna and she is cold to the touch. Agnarr and his wife hastily load their daughters onto their horses and ride at full speed into the mountains.
As the royal family gallops through the forests at full speed, they pass by Kristoff, who is still being dragged on his sled by Sven. He is intrigued by the trail of ice left behind by one of the horses. He follows it into an empty clearing that appears to only be populated by a large assortment of moss-covered boulders. From the edge of the clearing, Kristoff watches the girls' parents appear to ask the boulders for help. Suddenly, the boulders all begin to roll into a circle around the royal family, then unfold themselves, revealing themselves to be the trolls. In fact, the "boulder" that Kristoff is hiding behind is revealed to be another troll, Bulda, who takes Kristoff and Sven in after deciding they are cute (and in part because Sven licks her).
Pabbie, the leader of the trolls, shows up and asks the King if Elsa was born or cursed with her abilities. He observes that Anna was lucky that she was hit in the head, as a hit to the heart would have been fatal. He advises the family that it might be best to not have Elsa use her powers around Anna, and alters Anna's memories so she has no knowledge of her sister's powers, remembering only the fun they've had. Pabbie warns Elsa that her powers will grow, and although they are beautiful, they'll be dangerous if she cannot learn to control them, as fear will be her greatest enemy.
Subsequently, the castle is closed off to visitors. Staffing is reduced to a minimum, and Elsa is ostracized from everyone, including Anna, in order to protect her from the world until she can learn to control her powers, leaving both sisters distraught and lonely. Despite Anna's best attempts ("Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"), she is unable to rouse Elsa from her room. Their despair only escalates when, while Elsa is 18, their parents depart on a diplomatic mission for two weeks. They are killed when the ship they are on capsizes in a storm and is swallowed by a huge monstrous wave. Anna goes again to Elsa's door, pleading for consolation from her only remaining family member. But Elsa, though she sits sadly on the other side of the door, refuses to communicate with Anna.
Three years later, Elsa (now voiced by Idina Menzel) is about to be coronated as the Queen of Arendelle. Dignitaries from around Europe are coming to visit, including the Duke of Weselton, who wants to run Arendelle's profits dry. Nobody is more excited than Anna (now voiced by Kristen Bell), as they are finally opening the gates to the kingdom. She is happy to see other people, and hopes for the possibility of meeting that special someone, but Elsa is still concerned about trying to control her powers ("For the First Time in Forever").
As Anna strolls out onto the streets, she crashes into a horse belonging to a charming and handsome visitor, and falls into a rowboat. The visitor apologizes, and introduces himself as Prince Hans of the Southern Isles. Though angered at first by the clumsiness of the stranger, Anna is attracted by Hans' appearance once she lays her eyes on him. She hurries off when she hears the church bells.
Elsa remains nervous during the coronation ceremony. The bishop reminds her to take off her gloves before she takes up her golden orb and scepter. Holding them, she turns to face the congregation, but almost immediately, she sees the gold on the orb start to frost over. She returns the orb and scepter hurriedly to the bishop, and puts her gloves back on, narrowly averting disaster.
At the coronation reception, one of the servants introduces Elsa and Anna to the crowd. Anna's first friendly interaction with Elsa in years brings quite a delightful feeling to the princess, flustered at first, and seeing Elsa so happy instead of serious and reserved boosts Anna's confidence, prompting her to continue on with the conversation. They're interrupted afterward by their steward Kai introducing the Duke of Weselton who offers Elsa her first dance as queen. Elsa politely declines the offer, but instead playfully volunteers Anna, much to the Duke's delight nonetheless, and the two head off into a comical dance scene. Elsa can't resist chuckling seeing Anna get innocently flustered by the Duke's over-the-top (and incredibly terrible) dancing skills. This causes Anna to feel just as whimsical about the entire matter, for seeing Elsa in such a state is a sight. Anna returns by Elsa's side afterward, commenting on how well things have been going through the day, and expresses her wishes to have things the way they were that night all the time. Elsa does agree though her smile, unfortunately, fades away, and she reluctantly denies Anna's wishes all at once despite failing to explain why.
Anna and Hans then sneak off to spend the evening together, quickly realizing the mutual attraction between them. The romantic dance eventually leads to an entire date ("Love is an Open Door"), with the entire night of the young couple being spent bonding. Hans, during their time together, learns of Anna's longing of having someone special in her life, with her sister, apparently developing a dislike of being around her by suddenly shutting Anna out one day when they were kids. Hans openly relates to this, only furthering Anna's connection with him. Hans then promises to never shut Anna out, unlike Elsa, much to the Princess's absolute joy.
By the end of their tour throughout the Kingdom, Hans proposes to Anna right on the spot which she immediately accepts. The two head back to the ballroom, where Anna asks for Elsa's blessing on the marriage. Elsa's baffled by the shocking news, but Anna and Hans couldn't appear more excited going on to ramble about the wedding arrangements. Elsa ceases the sudden rambling by denying the marriage, much to Anna's dismay. Elsa asks to speak to Anna alone in private, likely to finally confess her abilities and why it's not wise to marry someone she just met without causing a scene that would surely get her magical nature exposed, but Anna refuses any private conversation, stating whatever Elsa has to say can be said to both her and Hans. Elsa, becoming impatient and frustrated, outright forbids Anna of marrying someone she just met, indirectly telling Anna she knows nothing about true love. This causes Anna to hiss back, telling Elsa all she knows is how to shut people out. Although Elsa is visibly hurt by this, she continues to refuse with the argument only worsening when she orders the guards to end the party early and close the gates. Elsa refuses to grant her blessing on the marriage, setting Anna off on a tirade at her sister, who now not only seems distant emotionally but also seems intent on keeping her from happiness. Unable to contain her emotions, Elsa makes a violent sweep with her arm, causing a barrier of sharp icicles to appear, nearly striking the guests and Anna. Shocked at the room's reaction to her powers, Elsa rushes from the room.
Panicking, Elsa flees with Anna in hot pursuit. As she bolts out the door, she finds a huge crowd waiting for her. When a woman asks Elsa if she's all right, she is frightened enough that she accidentally backs into and freezes an ornamental fountain. The Duke of Weselton demands her to stop, Elsa just pleads for them to stay away before another bolt of ice shoots from her hands in a panic, nearly hitting the Duke and his guards. She keeps running away, sprinting across the waters of the fjord, her feet freezing the water, and vanishes into the woods on the other side of the fjord. Anna calls after Elsa, but as she, Hans, and the other guests watch, the waters of the fjord completely ice over and the air takes on an icy chill. Moments later, snow begins to fall. The Duke begins to panic, declaring they must take action and put an end to Elsa's curse. Anna, however, refuses and volunteers to seek out Elsa herself and make things right, feeling that it's her fault for pushing her. With Hans being left in charge of the kingdom, Anna heads off on her horse to begin her search for her sister.
Meanwhile, Elsa has found her way to a high precipice on the kingdom's North Mountain. It is here she realizes that far away from what she was taught, being on her own, she can begin to control her powers ("Let it Go"). She constructs an elaborate ice palace, changes her confining wardrobe into a shimmering ice dress, and vows to stay in seclusion, where she feels she can be herself, and harm no one else.
The next morning, Anna is seen traveling slowly through knee-deep snow on horseback. Anna loses her horse after it gets spooked by snow falling from a tree. She travels on foot until nightfall. By the following night, Anna is griping that she wishes Elsa had tropical powers instead of ice powers and is relieved upon finally seeing a building with smoke coming from a chimney. Just then, Anna slips and falls into an ice-cold creek, which freezes her dress stiff. She staggers the rest of the way to the cabin with the chimney, a place known as Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna, run by its burly owner, Oaken.
Anna quickly staggers into Oaken's store. Oaken has very little winter gear in stock (as it's supposed to be the offseason). Anna inquires if Elsa has visited recently, but Oaken tells her that she's the only person crazy enough to be out in a storm like this. As if on cue, an adult Kristoff staggers in out of the storm, covered head to foot in snow, seeking to buy some rope, an ax, and carrots for Sven. Oaken can't help but notice that Kristoff is bundled up tightly. Kristoff replies that there happens to be a real howler going on up on the North Mountain. As Anna waits for Oaken to return his attention to her, Kristoff argues with Oaken over the drastic increase in the prices of the items he needs (due to Oaken claiming that there's a supply and demand problem since Kristoff is buying from the almost-bare shelves of the winter department), which ends with Oaken roughly throwing Kristoff out into the snow after the latter makes the mistake of calling him a crook.
Kristoff and Sven take refuge in a barn next door to Oaken's store. They are soon met by Anna, who has bought Kristoff's supplies for him, on condition he takes her up the North Mountain immediately. Kristoff reluctantly agrees.
Anna and Kristoff set off into the night with Sven driving. As the discussion turns to Elsa, Anna explains about her whirlwind engagement to Hans. Kristoff is incredulous at Anna's foolhardiness in getting engaged to someone she met that day, to the point that he quizzes her about Hans to see how little she really knows about him. However, the conversation is interrupted when the sled is ambushed by a pack of wolves. Kristoff is initially reluctant to let Anna assist him, but Anna proves to be useful and manages to take out a few of the wolves by herself. There is a moment of panic when the two see a gaping ravine up ahead. Kristoff hurriedly throws Anna onto Sven's back, then, just as they reach the cliff, he uses his knife to cut Sven's harness. Anna and Sven successfully clear the chasm, and Kristoff does, just barely, but his sled falls to the bottom of the ravine and explodes. Kristoff is at first upset that his sled is gone (as he'd just paid it off), but after "arguing" with Sven (which consists of Kristoff speaking his own opinion in his own voice and then delivering Sven's "counterargument" in a goofy voice), decides to help Anna keep going, worried for her safety. Anna promises she will replace the sled.
Early the next morning, Anna and Kristoff enter a frosted-over glen. They suddenly hear a new voice, which they momentarily think is Sven talking, until a little anthropomorphic snowman named Olaf wanders into the area. The introductions don't go well, as Anna screams and kicks Olaf's head off upon first seeing him. Anna calms down and gives Olaf a carrot to use as a nose. He then introduces himself and says he likes warm hugs. Anna is immediately reminded of the snowman she and Elsa built as kids and realizes Elsa created him. Anna and Kristoff tell Olaf that they want to find Elsa to bring back summer, and Olaf suddenly grows excited; it's his dream to see what summer is like, as he fantasizes in a Bubsy-Berkeley-style dance number ("In Summer"). Anna and Kristoff do not see it fit to reveal that he will melt in the summer heat but follow him as he leads them to Elsa's ice palace.
Later that day, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf arrive at Elsa's ice palace. Sven waits at the bottom of the stairway leading up to the front doors, as his feet can't get a grip on the icy steps. Meanwhile, when they get to the front door, Anna tells Kristoff and Olaf to wait outside, warning them that the last time she introduced Elsa to a guy, she froze everything (making Elsa look like an overprotective sister). The dejected Olaf and Kristoff wait on the front steps and start counting to 60 while Anna heads inside.
Inside, Anna is stunned at the glorious interior of the palace and, even more amazed, to see the new ice dress Elsa has conjured for herself. Though Elsa is happy to see Anna and quickly forgives her for the argument that happened at the coronation party, she becomes nervous and suggests Anna leave so she can't do any harm to her. The conversation is momentarily interrupted when Olaf crashes the meeting (having taken Anna's request of "give us a minute" quite literally). Elsa is astonished to find that her powers include the ability to conjure up living snowmen.
As it turns out, Elsa is surprised to learn that her entire kingdom is frozen, and Anna is surprised in turn to learn that Elsa doesn't know how to stop it. But Anna insists her sister's powers are no reason why they should be so distant. However, having seen Olaf, Elsa flashes back to accidentally hitting Anna in the head with her snow abilities and grows scared, demanding Anna leave.
Elsa retreats to the upper portion of the palace, and Anna follows her, pleading with her sister that they can solve this problem together ("For the First Time In Forever (Reprise)"). But Anna's promising to stand by her sister's side and help her, Elsa only grows more agitated and nervous resulting in her magic flaring. This time, a blast of magic bursts out and strikes Anna in the heart. Elsa, in desperation to get her sister to safety, creates a giant snow creature (that Olaf calls "Marshmallow") to throw them out. As revenge, Anna balls up a snowball and throws it at the giant beast. Though it left literally no damage whatsoever, the lack of respect was enough to infuriate Marshmallow and cause him to chase Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf down the North Mountain and most likely eliminate them.
Marshmallow manages to corner them at the edge of a cliff, though Kristoff immediately begins digging a snow anchor by using a rope to safely guide himself and Anna down the mountain to safety. Marshmallow, however, catches up to them, though Olaf tries to stop him. Marshmallow, annoyed, kicks Olaf over the cliff and continues his chase for Anna and Kristoff. He pulls them up to his face by the rope, and screams in their face "DON"T COME BACK!". Anna then grabs Kristoff's knife and cuts the rope. This sends the duo plummeting down, though they survive. With his mission to drive them away complete, Marshmallow returns to the ice palace.
As they recover from the landing, Kristoff notices that Anna's hair has started to turn white. Fearful that she may be injured, Kristoff takes her to his family...who happen to be a group of rock trolls -- the same ones that saved Anna many years before. Kristoff explains that as he had no family at a young age, the trolls took him and Sven in. A mix-up occurs, and the trolls insist Anna and Kristoff get married ("Fixer Upper"). Anna collapses before the two can be wed by Gothi the Troll Priest, and Grand Pabbie appears and examines Anna, but concludes that this time her sister's powers struck her in the heart. Pabbie cannot save her; Anna's heart has begun to freeze. Pabbie says "an act of true love can melt a frozen heart." Anna quickly tells Kristoff that Hans can surely help, and they take off for Arendelle.
Meanwhile, in Arendelle, Hans is providing shelter and help for Arendelle's people. When Anna's horse comes back riderless, Hans asks for volunteers to join him in bringing Anna back. The Duke of Weselton volunteers his two bodyguards and secretly tells them to kill Elsa if they should encounter her.
The next morning, Hans' party arrives at Elsa's ice castle. Shortly after they arrive, Hans orders that no harm is to come to Elsa. While everyone agrees, the Duke's thugs quietly disagree, still following the Duke's orders to kill her. The moment they come close enough, Marshmallow reveals himself from the form of snow boulders piled up by the base of the stairs and jumps right into battle. The archer immediately attacks the beast with their arrows, infuriating Marshmallow and causing his ultimate form to be unleashed. Marshmallow is able to hold most of the guards off. Hans, however, proves to be a fierce warrior himself, avoiding each of Marshmallow's attacks and eventually using his sword to slice the snow monster's leg off and cause him to lose balance and begin tumbling over to a large gorge. With Marshmallow wounded, Hans begins heading inside Elsa's castle. Marshmallow, however, doesn't give up, giving one last swing in an attempt to drag Hans down with him. Marshmallow, unfortunately, fails plummets down into the chasm below, apparently to his death.
While Hans battles Marshmallow, the Duke's two men have managed to use the distraction to barge up the ice steps and into the castle, where they corner Elsa. Despite her pleading for them to leave her alone, they shoot at her. She quickly forms walls of ice to block their shots. Eventually, she has the beardless thug pinned to a wall by several icicles and is on the verge of using a wall of ice to shove the bearded thug off the balcony. Hans and his men show up just in time and Hans pleads for her to stop, so she doesn't become the monster people accuse her of being. Elsa settles down a bit at Hans' words, realizing the demon she is becoming and halts her magic. The beardless thug, still complying with the orders of the Duke, aims his crossbow at Elsa's head and prepares to shoot her. Hans suddenly runs up and deflects the bow. The arrow is released and hits an icy chandelier, which begins to fall. Elsa tries to run, but the falling chandelier fragments and knocks her unconscious.
When Elsa wakes up, she's in a dungeon cell, her hands chained and encased in steel mitts. As she looks out over the frozen kingdom, Hans appears, telling Elsa that Anna has not returned, and pleads with her to stop the winter. Elsa claims she can't, and must be let go to keep others from being harmed.
Shortly thereafter, Anna, Kristoff, and Sven arrive at the castle. Anna's condition has grown worse, a chill coursing through her, and more of her hair has turned white. Several of the castle staff escort her in; she looks back as Kristoff and Sven leave. Anna is brought to Hans and tells him that he has to kiss her in order to save her.
The castle staff in the room quickly leave to give them privacy. Hans places Anna in a chair, leans in as if to kiss her... and says "Oh, Anna...if only there was someone out there who loved you." As Anna looks at him in shock, Hans explains that as the youngest of 13 brothers, he had no chance at claiming his family's throne as he would be an old man by then, so he went looking for a royal family he could marry into. Unable to get to Elsa, he made Anna's acquaintance and played on her naivete since "you were so desperate for love, you were willing to marry me just like that." He intended to marry her before causing some form of "accident" for Elsa that would clear his path to the throne and make him King of Arendelle. However, with Anna now gravely injured, he plans to simply let her frozen heart overcome her, then stab Elsa, ending the eternal winter. Anna, now hating Hans for his ruthlessness, blatantly spits "You're no match for Elsa." with Hans replying that it is Anna that isn't a match against Elsa. He extinguishes the fire in the nearby fireplace before locking her in the room. Anna collapses with shock, her hair now completely white.
Hans goes to speak with the Duke of Weselton and several other dignitaries. He feigns grief and claims that Elsa has killed Anna, but before she died he and Anna recited their wedding vows. In part due to the eternal winter chaos, this apparently is enough to give him full authority to declare Elsa guilty of treason and sentence her to death.
The palace guards go to Elsa's cell but are detained when a wall of the cell collapses. While they are held up, Elsa freezes her shackles to the point that they shatter, and then breaks through the wall to the outside.
Meanwhile, far from Arendelle, Kristoff and Sven are walking away when Sven urges Kristoff to go back. Kristoff claims he has no need to, but as they look back at Arendelle, a mysterious swirling cloud of snow begins to engulf the kingdom. The two then take off towards the growing danger.
Anna's curse becomes stronger with her death process nearly complete. When Olaf arrives, he finds Anna in the library on the ground and quickly dying. Olaf comes to Anna's rescue and starts a fire to warm Anna up. Olaf then asks what happened with the true love's kiss from Hans, to which Anna reveals his treachery and Hans never loved her. Fearing he'll melt, Anna tells Olaf to leave. Not wanting to abandon his new best friend, Olaf stays by her side and nearly melts during this time. Anna brokenheartedly tells Olaf that she doesn't even know what love is anymore. Olaf replies by telling Anna that love is putting someone else before yourself, using Kristoff as an example. This reveals Kristoff's true feelings to Anna, much to Anna's surprise. Suddenly, the library's window bursts open due to the strong winter winds. Olaf rushes to close it, but he then notices Kristoff and Sven rushing across the fjord to the castle. Knowing Kristoff is truly the one that loves Anna, the two try to head out to meet him.
Olaf helps Anna up, but in the hallway, ice springs up to block their path. Going out a window, the two slide down the castle's steep roofs. Anna attempts to make her way across the icy fjord, with Olaf close behind. However, as the wind picks up, Olaf is blown away, and Anna finds her hands are turning to ice. Even so, she continues to move forward, calling out Kristoff's name.
Meanwhile, Hans finds Elsa wandering the ice of the fjord. Thinking he's come for her, Elsa tells him to leave her alone, and take care of Anna. Hans lies and says that Anna was killed by Elsa's magic. The pain of this causes Elsa to collapse, the snow in the air suddenly hanging in stillness. This then gives Kristoff and Anna the chance to reach each other. But at that moment, Anna hears a sword being drawn a short distance away. In horror, Anna sees Hans about to swing his sword at Elsa and slice her head off. With seconds to choose between saving her own life or Elsa's life, Anna takes one last look at Kristoff and runs towards Elsa. Just as Hans is taking his swing at Elsa, Anna steps in front of him and freezes solid. Hans' sword makes contact with Anna's frozen form, shattering it, and a sudden shockwave throws him brutally backward and knocks him unconscious.
Kristoff and Sven arrive seconds later. Seeing Anna turned fully solid, Elsa breaks down in tears, hugging her sister. No one is sure what to say when Anna's icy form begins to change and gain color, and she suddenly melts back to normal.
Elsa realizes that love is the key to controlling her powers, and with one move is able to melt all of the snow on the ground in a matter of seconds, including the snow around them, revealing that they are on top of a ship. Olaf, overjoyed, smiles with glee, but the summer heat starts to melt him. Elsa restores him and gives him a small flurry cloud to hover over his body and keep his body temperature below freezing temperature, finally allowing him to live his dream of experiencing summer and all its wonders.
When Hans awakens several moments later, he finds Arendelle thawed and peace restored. Kristoff tries to march forward towards Hans to attack him, and Elsa seems touched by Kristoff's protectiveness over her and Anna. Anna, however, decides to confront him instead. Anna then approaches the manipulative and deceptive Hans, who can only stutter with disbelief "But she froze your heart!" Anna coolly replies, "The only frozen heart around here is yours," and sucker-punches Hans over the side of the ship railing. Anna and Elsa then hug, with their friendship restored stronger than ever. As the sisters hug, Anna looks lovingly towards Kristoff, showing that she reciprocated his love.
Once again, Arendelle is restored to peace. Elsa is once again accepted as queen, with everyone finally understanding that she is no monster, but a creator of beautiful magic. Exposed as the manipulating liar he is, Hans is deported back to his own kingdom to face punishment from his twelve older brothers for his deeds. Elsa additionally cuts off all trade with the Duke of Weselton. The Duke tries to claim that he was innocent and a victim of fear. But to no avail, he and his thugs are sent back in disgrace, with Kai deliberately calling the Duke's kingdom "Weaseltown" to annoy him.
Some time later, Anna leads a blindfolded Kristoff to the docks, though briefly runs him into a lamppost. She removes the blindfold, and gives Kristoff a new sled and reveals that Elsa has named him the Official Ice Master for the kingdom and so he can be with Anna. He attempts to decline both the sled and the title, too modest to accept, but Anna points out that this is a direct order from the queen. When she asks what his thoughts on the sled are, Kristoff picks up Anna and twirls her around in his arms, exclaiming he loves it, and that he could kiss her. Realizing what he said, Kristoff immediately puts her down, and stammers awkwardly that he'd like to, among several sentences of nonsense, leaving him embarrassingly flustered before Anna kisses his cheek, saying to Kristoff, "We may," and the two share a kiss.
Elsa creates an ice rink in one of the castle courtyards and promises to never shut the castle gates again while gifting Anna with a pair of ice skates (made out of snow and ice). Anna is delighted but tells Elsa that she can't skate. Elsa delightfully and playfully helps her, and she is later joined by Olaf. The movie ends with everyone in the village skating, making the most of Elsa's ice rink.
In a post-credits scene, it's revealed that Marshmallow has survived his fall into the gorge and (to some degree) reattached his leg. He is seen limping back into the castle, where all he finds is Elsa's old crown. The monster looks around for a moment and smiles. Then, pleasing his inner prince, Marshmallow happily crowns himself ruler of the castle while going back to his neutral and peaceful form smiling and letting out a happy sigh, happily continuing his life in the North Mountain.
|Ciarán Hinds||Grand Pabbie|
|Livvy Stubenrauch||5-year old Anna (speaking)|
|Katie Lopez||5-year old Anna (singing)|
|Agatha Lee Monn||9-year old Anna|
|Eva Bella||8-year old Elsa|
|Spencer Lacey Ganus||12-year old Elsa|
|Maurice LaMarche||King Agnarr|
|Jennifer Lee||Queen Iduna|
|Stephen J. Anderson||Kai|
|Annie Lopez||Baby Troll|
|Robert Pine||Bishop of Arendelle|
|Jesse Corti||Spanish Dignitary|
|Jeffrey Marcus||German Dignitary|
|Tucker Gilmore||Irish Dignitary|
The Disney studio first began exploring a possible live action/animation biography film of author and poet Hans Christian Andersen sometime in late 1937 before the December premiere of its film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length hand-drawn animated film ever made. In March 1940, Walt Disney suggested a co-production to film producer Samuel Goldwyn, where Goldwyn's studio would shoot the live-action sequences of Andersen's life and Disney's studio would animate Andersen's fairy tales. The animated sequences would be based on some of Andersen's best known works, such as The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Red Shoes and The Emperor's New Clothes. However, the studio encountered difficulty with The Snow Queen, as it could not find a way to adapt and relate the Snow Queen character to modern audiences. Even as far back as the 1930s and 1940s, it was clear that the source material contained great cinematic possibilities, but the Snow Queen character proved to be too problematic. After the United States entered World War II, the Disney studio had to focus on making wartime propaganda, which caused development on the Disney-Goldwyn project to grind to a halt in 1942. Goldwyn went on to produce his own live-action film version in 1952, entitled Hans Christian Andersen, with Danny Kaye as Andersen, Charles Vidor directing, Moss Hart writing, and Frank Loesser penning the songs. All of Andersen's fairy tales were, instead, told in song and ballet in live-action, like the rest of the film. It went on to receive six Academy Award nominations the following year. Back at Disney, The Snow Queen, along with other Andersen fairy tales (including The Little Mermaid), were shelved.
|"Hans Christian Andersen's original version of The Snow Queen is a pretty dark tale and it doesn't translate easily into a film. For us, the breakthrough came when we tried to give really human qualities to the Snow Queen. When we decided to make the Snow Queen Elsa and our protagonist Anna sisters, that gave a way to relate to the characters in a way that conveyed what each was going through and that would relate to today's audiences. This film has a lot of complicated characters and complicated relationships in it. There are times when Elsa does villainous things but because you understand where it comes from, from this desire to defend herself, you can always relate to her. "Inspired by" means exactly that. There is snow and there is ice and there is a Queen, but other than that, we depart from it quite a bit. We do try to bring the scope and the scale that you would expect but do it in a way that we can understand the characters and relate to them."|
—— Producer Peter Del Vecho, on the difficulties adapting The Snow Queen.
In the late 1990s, Walt Disney Feature Animation started developing a new adaptation of The Snow Queen after the tremendous success of their recent films during the Disney Renaissance era, but the project was scrapped completely in late 2002, when Glen Keane reportedly quit the project and went on to work on another project which became Tangled (2010). Even before then, Harvey Fierstein pitched his version of the story to the Disney executives, but was turned down. Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi, Dick Zondag and Dave Goetz reportedly all had their try on it but failed. After a number of unsuccessful attempts from 2000 to 2002, Disney shelved the project again. During one of those attempts, Michael Eisner, then-chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, offered his support to the project and suggested doing it with Oscar-winning director John Lasseter at Pixar Animation Studios after the then-expected renewal of Pixar's contract with Disney. But negotiations between Pixar and Disney collapsed in January 2004 and that contract was never renewed. Instead, Eisner's successor Bob Iger negotiated Disney's purchase of Pixar in January 2006 for $7.4 billion, and Lasseter was promoted to chief creative officer of both Pixar and Disney Animation.
The next attempt started in 2008 when Lasseter was able to convince Chris Buck (who had co-directed Tarzan (1999) for the studio) to return to Disney Animation from Sony Pictures Animation (where he had recently co-directed the Oscar-nominated Surf's Up), and that September, Buck pitched several ideas to Lasseter (who by then had also become Chief Creative Officer of Disney Animation), one of which was The Snow Queen. Buck later revealed that his initial inspiration for The Snow Queen was not the Andersen fairy tale itself, but that he wanted "to do something different on the definition of true love." "Disney had already done the 'kissed by a prince' thing, so [I] thought it was time for something new," he recalled. It turned out Lasseter had been interested in The Snow Queen for a long time; back when Pixar was working with Disney on Toy Story in the 1990s, he saw and was "blown away" by some of the preproduction art from Disney's prior attempts. Development began under the title Anna and the Snow Queen, which was planned to be traditionally animated. According to Josh Gad, he first became involved with the film at that early stage, when the plot was still relatively close to the original Andersen fairy tale and Megan Mullally was going to play Elsa. By early 2010, the project entered development hell once again when the studio failed to find a way to make the story and the Snow Queen character work.
On December 22, 2011, following the success of Tangled, Disney announced a new title for the film, Frozen, and a release date of November 27, 2013. A month later, it was confirmed that the film would be a computer-animated feature in stereoscopic 3D, instead of the originally intended hand-drawn animation. Anderson-Lopez and Lopez joined the project and started writing songs for Frozen in January 2012.
On March 5, 2012, it was announced that Buck would be directing, with Lasseter and Peter Del Vecho producing.
After Disney decided to advance The Snow Queen into development again, one of the main challenges Buck and Del Vecho faced was the character of the Snow Queen, who was then a villain in their drafts. The studio has a tradition of screening animated films in development every twelve weeks, then holding lengthy "notes sessions" in which its directors and screenwriters from different projects provide extensive "notes" on each other's work.
Buck and Del Vecho presented their storyboards to Lasseter, and the entire production team adjourned to a conference to hear Lasseter's thoughts on the project. Art director Michael Giaimo later acknowledged Lasseter as the "game changer" of the film: "I remember John saying that the latest version of The Snow Queen story that Chris Buck and his team had come up with was fun, very light-hearted. But the characters didn't resonate. They aren't multi-faceted. Which is why John felt that audiences wouldn't really be able to connect with them."
The production team then addressed the film's problems, drafting several different variations on The Snow Queen story until the characters and story felt relevant. At that stage, the first major breakthrough was the decision to rewrite the film's protagonist Anna (who was based on the Gerda character from The Snow Queen), as the younger sibling of Elsa, thereby effectively establishing a family dynamic between the characters. This was unusual in that relationships between sisters are rarely used as a major plot element in American animated films, with the notable exception of Disney's Lilo & Stitch (2002). To fully explore the unique dynamics of the kind of relationships, Disney Animation convened a "Sister Summit," at which women from all over Disney Animation who grew up with sisters were asked to discuss their relationships with their sisters.
In March 2012, Jennifer Lee, one of two screenplay writers of Wreck-It Ralph, was brought in as one of the film's writers. Lee later explained that as Wreck-It Ralph was wrapping up, she was giving notes on other projects, and "we kind of really connected with what we were thinking."
According to Lee, several core concepts were already in place from Buck and Del Vecho's early work, such as the film's "frozen heart" hook: "That was a concept and the phrase ... an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart." They already knew the ending involved true love in the sense of the emotional bond between siblings, not romance, in that "Anna was going to save Elsa. We didn't know how or why." Lee said Edwin Catmull, president of Disney Animation, told her early on about the film's ending: "First and foremost, no matter what you have to do to the story, do it. But you have to earn that ending. If you do, it will be great. If you don't, it will suck."
Before Lee was brought on board, another screenwriter had made the first pass at a script, and Anderson-Lopez and Lopez tried to write songs for that script but none worked and all were cut. Then "the whole script imploded," which gave the songwriters the opportunity "to put a lot of [their] DNA" into the new script that Lee was writing. The production team "essentially started over and ... had 17 months," which resulted in a very "intense schedule" and implied "a lot of choices had to be made fast."
The earlier versions differed sharply from the final version. In the original script the songwriters first saw, Elsa was evil from the start; she kidnapped Anna from her own wedding to intentionally freeze her heart, then later descended upon the town with an army of snowmen with the objective of recapturing Anna to freeze her heart properly. By the time Lee came in, the first act included Elsa deliberately striking Anna in the heart with her freezing powers; then "the whole second act was about Anna trying to get to Hans and to kiss him and then Elsa trying to stop her." Buck revealed that the original plot attempted to make Anna sympathetic by focusing on her frustration as being perceived as the "spare" in relation to the "heir," Elsa. The original plot also had different pacing, in that it was "much more of an action adventure" than a musical or a comedy.
One major breakthrough was the composition of "Let It Go" by songwriters Lopez and Anderson-Lopez, which forced the production team to reconceptualize and rewrite Elsa as a far more complex, vulnerable, and sympathetic character. In The Daily Telegraph's words, instead of the villain envisioned by the producers, the songwriters saw Elsa as "a scared girl struggling to control and come to terms with her gift." Lee recalled: "Bobby and Kristen said they were walking in Prospect Park and they just started talking about what would it feel like to be Elsa. Forget villain. Just what it would feel like. And this concept of letting out who she is, that she's kept to herself for so long, and she's alone and free, but then the sic sadness of the fact that the last moment is she's alone. It's not a perfect thing, but it's powerful." Del Vecho explained that "Let It Go" changed Elsa into a person "ruled by fear and Anna was ruled by her own love of other people and her own drive," which in turn caused Lee to "rewrite the first act and then that rippled through the entire movie. So that was when we really found the movie and who these characters were."
Another major breakthrough was developing the plot twist that Prince Hans would be revealed as the film's true villain only near the end. Hans was not even in the earliest drafts, then at first was not a villain, and after becoming one was revealed to be evil much earlier in the plot. Del Vecho said, "We realized what was most important was if we were going to make the ending so surprising, you had to believe at one point that Hans was the answer ... when he's not the answer, it's Kristoff ... If you can get the audience to leap ahead and think they have figured it out, you can surprise them by turning it the other way." Lee acknowledged that Hans was written as "sociopathic" and "twisted" throughout the final version. For example, Hans mirrors the behavior of the other characters: "He mirrors Anna and he's goofy with her ... The Duke of Weselton is a jerk, so he's a jerk back. And with Elsa he's a hero." It was difficult to lay the foundation for Anna's belated turn to Kristoff without also making Hans' betrayal of Anna too predictable, in that the audience had to "feel ... her feeling something but not quite understanding it ... Because the minute it is understood, it deflated."
Lee had to work through the issue of how to write Anna's personality, in that some of her colleagues felt Anna should be more dysfunctional and co-dependent, like Vanellope von Schweetz in Wreck-It Ralph. Lee disagreed with that position, but it took her almost a year to figure out how to convincingly articulate "this is what Anna's journey is. No more than that. No less than that." In the end, Lee successfully argued Anna's journey should be presented as a simple coming-of-age story, "where she goes from having a naive view of life and love—because she's lonely—to the most sophisticated and mature view of love, where she's capable of the ultimate love, which is sacrifice." Lee also had to let go of some ideas that she liked, such as a scene portraying Anna and Elsa's relationship as teenagers, which did not work because they needed to maintain the separation between Anna and Elsa.
To construct Anna and Elsa's relationship as sisters, Lee found inspiration in her own relationship with her older sister. Lee said her older sister was "a big inspiration for Elsa", called her "my Elsa" in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, and walked the red carpet with her at the 86th Academy Awards. Lee explained, "having to ... lose each other and then rediscover each other as adults, that was a big part of my life."
The production team also turned Olaf from Elsa's obnoxious sidekick into Anna's comically innocent sidekick. Lee's initial response to the original "mean" version of Olaf had been, "Kill the f-ing snowman", and she found Olaf by far "the hardest character to deal with."
The problem of how exactly Anna would save Elsa at the film's climax was solved by storyboard artist John Ripa. At the story meeting where Ripa pitched his take on the story, the response was silence until Lasseter said, "I've never seen anything like that before," which was followed by a standing ovation.
Along the way, the production team went through drafts where the first act included far more detail than what ended up in the final version, such as a troll with a Brooklyn accent who would have explained the backstory behind Elsa's magical powers, and a regent for whom Lee was hoping to cast comedian Louis C.K. After all those details were thoroughly "over-analyzed", they were excised because they amounted to a "much more complex story than really we felt like we could fit in this 90-minute film." As Del Vecho put it, "the more we tried to explain things at the beginning, the more complicated it got."
Actress Kristen Bell was cast as the voice of Anna on March 5, 2012. Lee admitted that Bell's casting selection was influenced after the filmmakers listened to a series of vocal tracks Bell had recorded when she was young, where the actress performed several songs from The Little Mermaid, including "Part of Your World". Bell completed her recording sessions while she was pregnant, and subsequently re-recorded some of her character's lines after her pregnancy, as her voice had deepened. Bell was called in to re-record dialogue for the film "probably 20 times," which is normal for lead roles in Disney animated films whose scripts are still evolving. As for her approach to the role of Anna, Bell enthused that she had "dreamed of being in a Disney animated film" since she was four years old, saying, "I always loved Disney animation, but there was something about the females that was unattainable to me. Their posture was too good and they were too well-spoken, and I feel like I really made this girl much more relatable and weirder and scrappier and more excitable and awkward. I'm really proud of that."
|Frozen is "a bit of a feminist movie for Disney. I'm really proud of that. It has everything, but it's essentially about sisterhood. I think that these two women are competitive with one another, but always trying to protect each other – sisters are just so complicated. It's such a great relationship to have in movies, especially for young kids."|
—Idina Menzel, on her impression of Frozen
On June 23, 2012, Idina Menzel, a Broadway veteran, was cast as the voice of Elsa. Menzel had formerly auditioned for Tangled, but didn't get the part. However, Tangled's casting director Jamie Sparer Roberts preserved a recording of Menzel's performance on her iPhone, and on the basis of that, asked her to audition along with Bell for Frozen. Before they were officially cast, Menzel and Bell deeply impressed the directors at an early table read; after reading the entire script out loud, they sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" together as a duet, since no music had been composed yet. Bell had suggested that idea when she visited Menzel at her California home to prepare together for the table read. The songwriters were also present for the table read; Anderson-Lopez said "Lasseter was in heaven" upon hearing Menzel and Bell sing in harmony, and from that moment forward, he insisted, "Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel have to be in the movie!" Lee later said, "They sung it like sisters and what you mean to me, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house after they sang." Between December 2012 and June 2013, the casting of additional roles was announced, including Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton, Santino Fontana as Prince Hans, and Josh Gad as Olaf.
Following Lee's extensive involvement in Frozen's development process and her close work with director Buck and songwriters Lopez and Anderson-Lopez, studio heads Lasseter and Catmull promoted her to co-director of the film alongside Buck in August 2012. Her promotion was officially announced on November 29, 2012, making Lee the first woman to direct a full-length animated motion picture produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. She primarily worked on the story while Buck focused on animation. Lee later stated that she was "really moved by a lot of what Chris had done" and that they "shared a vision" of the story, having "very similar sensibilities".
By November 2012, the production team thought they had finally "cracked" the puzzle of how to make the film's story work, but according to Del Vecho, in late February 2013, it became clear that the film still "wasn't working", which necessitated further rewriting of scenes and songs from February through June 2013. He explained, "we rewrote songs, we took out characters and changed everything, and suddenly the movie gelled. But that was close. In hindsight, piece of cake, but during, it was a big struggle." Looking back, Anderson-Lopez joked she and Lopez thought at the time they could end up working as "birthday party clown[s]" if the final product "pull[ed] ... down" their careers and recalled that "we were really writing up until the last minute." In June (five months before the already-announced release date), the songwriters finally got the film working when they composed the song "For the First Time in Forever", which, in Lopez's words, "became the linchpin of the whole movie."
That month, Disney conducted test screenings of the half-completed film with two audiences (one made up of families and the other made up of adults) in Phoenix, Arizona, at which Lasseter and Catmull were personally present. Lee recalled that it was the moment when they realized they "had something because the reaction was huge." Catmull, who had instructed Lee at the outset to "earn the ending," told her afterward, "you did it".
Similar to Tangled, Frozen employed a unique artistic style by blending features of both computer-generated imagery (CGI) and traditional hand-drawn animation together. From the beginning, Buck knew Giaimo was the best candidate to develop the style he had in mind, which would draw from the best Disney hand-drawn classics of the 1950s, the Disney Little Golden Books and mid-century modern design—and persuaded him to come back to Disney to serve as the art director for Frozen. Buck, Lasseter and Giaimo were all old friends who had first met at CalArts and Giaimo had previously served as the art director for Disney's Pocahontas (1995), which Buck had worked on as a supervising animator.
To create the look of Frozen, Giaimo began pre-production research by reading extensively about the entire region of Scandinavia and visiting the Danish-themed city of Solvang near Los Angeles, but eventually zeroed in on Norway in particular because "80 percent" of the visuals that appealed to him were from Norway. Disney eventually sponsored three research field trips. Animators and special effects specialists were dispatched to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to experience walking, running, and falling in deep snow in a variety of types of attire, including long skirts (which both female and male personnel tried on); while lighting and arts teams visited an Ice Hotel in Quebec City, Quebec to study how light reflects and refracts on snow and ice. Finally, Giaimo and several artists traveled to Norway to draw inspiration from its mountains, fjords, architecture, and culture. "We had a very short time schedule for this film, so our main focus was really to get the story right but we knew that John Lasseter is keen on truth in the material and creating a believable world, and again that doesn't mean it's a realistic world – but a believable one. It was important to see the scope and scale of Norway, and important for our animators to know what it's like," Del Vecho said. "There is a real feeling of Lawrence of Arabia scope and scale to this," he finished.
During 2012, while Giaimo and the animators and artists conducted preparatory research and developed the film's overall look, the production team was still struggling to develop a compelling script, as explained above. That problem was not adequately solved until November 2012, and the script would later require even more significant revisions after that point. As a result, the single "most daunting" challenge facing the animation team was a short schedule of less than 12 months to turn Lee's still-evolving shooting script into an actual film. Of course, other films like Toy Story 2 had been successfully completed on even shorter schedules, but a short schedule necessarily meant "late nights, overtime, and stress." Lee estimated the total size of the entire team on Frozen to be around 600 to 650 people, "including around 70 lighting people, 70-plus animators," and 15 to 20 storyboard artists.
Del Vecho explained how the film's animation team was organized: "On this movie we do have character leads, supervising animators on specific characters. The animators themselves may work on multiple characters but it's always under one lead. I think it was different on Tangled, for example, but we chose to do it this way as we wanted one person to fully understand and develop their own character and then be able to impart that to the crew. Hyrum Osmond, the animator on Olaf, is quiet but he has a funny, wacky personality so we knew he'd bring a lot of comedy to it; Anna's animator, Becky Bresee, it's her first time leading a character and we wanted her to lead Anna." Acting coach Warner Loughlin was brought in to help the film's animators understand the characters they were creating. In order to get the general feeling of each scene, some animators did their own acting. "I actually film myself acting the scene out, which I find very helpful," said animation supervisor Rebecca Wilson Bresee. This helped her discover elements that made the scene feel real and believable. Elsa's supervising animator was Wayne Unten, who asked for that role because he was fascinated by the complexity of the character. Unten carefully developed Elsa's facial expressions in order to bring out her fear as contrasted against Anna's fearlessness. He also studied video from Menzel's recording sessions and animated Elsa's breathing to match Menzel's breathing.
Regarding the look and nature of the film's cinematograph, Giaimo was greatly influenced by Jack Cardiff's work in Black Narcissus. According to him, it lent a hyper-reality to the film: "Because this is a movie with such scale and we have the Norwegian fjords to draw from, I really wanted to explore the depth. From a design perspective, since I was stressing the horizontal and vertical aspects, and what the fjords provide, it was perfect. We encased the sibling story in scale." Ted D. McCord's work in The Sound of Music was another major influence for Giaimo. It was also Giaimo's idea that Frozen should be filmed in the CinemaScope aspect ratio, which was approved by Lasseter. Giaimo also wanted to ensure that Norway's fjords, architecture, and rosemaling folk art, were critical factors in designing the environment of Arendelle. Giaimo, whose background is in traditional animation, said that the art design environment represents a unity of character and environment and that he originally wanted to incorporate saturated colors, which is typically ill-advised in computer animation. For further authenticity, a live reindeer was brought into the studio for animators to study its movements and mannerisms for the character Sven.
Another important issue Giaimo insisted on addressing was costumes, in that he "knew from the start" it would be a "costume film." To realize that vision, he brought in character designer Jean Gillmore to act as a dedicated "costume designer". While traditional animation simply integrates costume design with character design and treats clothing as merely part of the characters, computer-generated animation regards costume as almost a separate entity with its own properties and behaviors—and Frozen required a level of as-yet-untried detail, down to minutiae like fabrics, buttons, trim, and stitching. Gillmore explained that her "general approach was to meld the historic silhouettes of 1840 Western Europe (give or take), with the shapes and garment relationships and details of folk costume in early Norway, circa 19th century." This meant using primarily wool fabric with accents of velvet, linen, and silk. During production, Giaimo and Gillmore "ran around" supplying various departments with real-world samples to use as references; they were able to draw upon both the studio's own in-house library of fabric samples as well as the resources of Disney Parks' costume division in Fullerton, California. The film's "look development artists" (the Disney job title for texture artists) created the digitally painted simulation of the appearance of surfaces, while other departments dealt with movement, rigging and weight, thickness and lighting of textile animation.
During production, the film's English title was changed from The Snow Queen to Frozen, a decision that drew comparisons to another Disney film, Tangled. Peter Del Vecho explained that "the title Frozen came up independently of the title Tangled. It's because, to us, it represents the movie. Frozen plays on the level of ice and snow but also the frozen relationship, the frozen heart that has to be thawed. We don't think of comparisons between Tangled and Frozen, though." He also mentioned that the film will still retain its original title, The Snow Queen, in some countries: "because that just resonated stronger in some countries than Frozen. Maybe there's a richness to The Snow Queen in the country's heritage and they just wanted to emphasize that."
The studio also developed several new tools to generate realistic and believable shots, particularly the heavy and deep snow and its interactions with the characters. Disney wanted an "all-encompassing" and "organic" tool to provide snow effects but not require switching between different methods. As noted above, several Disney artists and special effects personnel traveled to Wyoming to experience walking through deep snow. Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor from the California Institute of Technology, was invited to give lectures to the effects group on how snow and ice form, and why snowflakes are unique. Using this knowledge, the effects group created a snowflake generator that allowed them to randomly create 2,000 unique snowflake shapes for the film.
Another challenge that the studio had to face was to deliver shots of heavy and deep snow that both interacted believably with characters and had a realistic sticky quality. According to principal software engineer Andrew Selle, "Snow's not really a fluid. It's not really a solid. It breaks apart. It can be compressed into snowballs. All of these different effects are very difficult to capture simultaneously." In order to achieve this, software engineers used advanced mathematics (the Material Point Method) and physics, with assistance from mathematics researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles to create a snow simulator software application called Matterhorn. The tool was capable of depicting realistic snow in a virtual environment and was used in at least 43 scenes in the film, including several key sequences. Software engineer Alexey Stomakhin referred to snow as "an important character in the film," therefore it attracted special attention from the filmmakers. "When you stretch it, snow will break into chunks. Since snow doesn't have any connections, it doesn't have a mesh, it can break very easily. So that was an important property we took advantage of," explained Selle. "There you see Kristoff walking through and see his footprints breaking the snow into little pieces and chunk up and you see Anna being pulled out and the snow having packed together and broken into pieces. It's very organic how that happens. You don't see that they're pieces already – you see the snow as one thing and then breaking up." The tool also proved to be particularly useful in scenes involving characters walking through deep snow, as it ensured that the snow reacted naturally to each step.
Other tools designed to help artists complete complicated effects included Spaces, which allowed Olaf's deconstructible parts to be moved around and rebuilt, Flourish, which aided extra movement such as leaves and twigs to be art-directed; Snow Batcher, which helped preview the final look of the snow, especially when characters were interacting with an area of snow by walking through a volume, and Tonic, which enabled artists to sculpt their characters' hair as procedural volumes. Tonic also aided in animating fur and hair elements such as Elsa's hair, which contains 420,000 computer-generated threads, while the average number for a real human being is only 100,000. The number of character rigs in Frozen is 312 and the number of simulated costumes also reached 245 cloth rigs, which were far beyond all other Disney films to date. Fifty effects artists and lighting artists worked together on the technology to create "one single shot" in which Elsa builds her ice palace. Its complexity required 30 hours to render each frame, with 4,000 computers rendering one frame at a time.
Besides 3D effects, the filmmakers also used 2D artworks and drawings for specific elements and sequences in the film, including Elsa's magic and snow sculptures, as well as freezing fountains and floors. The effects group created a "capture stage" where the entire world of Frozen gets displayed on monitors, which can be "filmed" on special cameras to operate a three-dimensional scene. "We can take this virtual set that's mimicking all of my actions and put it into any one of our scenes in the film," said technology manager Evan Goldberg.
The setting was principally based on Norway, and the cultural influences in the film come from Scandinavian culture. Several landmarks in Norway appear in the film, including the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, and Bryggen in Bergen. Numerous other typical cultural Scandinavian elements are also included in the film, such as stave churches, trolls, Viking ships, Fjord horses, clothes, and food such as lutefisk. A maypole is also present in the film, as well as the brief appearance of runes in a book that the King opens to figure out where the trolls live. The perennial Norwegian debate over how to stack firewood properly (bark up or bark down) is briefly shown in the film. The film also contains several elements specifically drawn from the Sámi culture, such as the usage of reindeer for transportation and the equipment used to control these, clothing styles (the outfits of the ice cutters), and parts of the musical score. Decorations, such as those on the castle pillars and Kristoff's sled, are also in styles inspired by Sámi duodji decorations. During their fieldwork in Norway, Disney's team, for inspiration, visited Rørosrein, a Sámi family-owned company in the village Plassje that produces reindeer meat and arranges tourist events. Arendelle was inspired by Nærøyfjord, a branch of Norway's longest fjord Sognefjorden, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; while a castle in Oslo with beautiful hand-painted patterns on all four walls served as the inspiration for the kingdom's royal castle interior.
The filmmakers' trip to Norway provided essential knowledge for the animators to come up with the design aesthetic for the film in terms of color, light, and atmosphere. According to Giaimo, there were three important factors that they had acquired from this research trip: the fjords, which are the massive vertical rock formations, and serve as the setting for the secluded kingdom of Arendelle; the medieval stave churches, whose rustic triangular rooflines and shingles inspired the castle compound; and the rosemaling folk art, whose distinctive paneling and grid patterns informed the architecture, decor, and costumes.
- Main article: Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The songs for Frozen were written and composed by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, both of whom had previously worked with Disney Animation on Winnie the Pooh (2011) (also produced by Del Vecho, who then hired them for Frozen) and before that, with Disney Parks on Finding Nemo: The Musical (2007). About 23 minutes of the film are dedicated to their musical numbers. Because they live in New York City, collaborating closely with the production team in Burbank required two-hour-long transcontinental videoconferences nearly every weekday for about 14 months. For each song they composed, they recorded a demo in their home studio (with both of them singing the lyrics and Lopez accompanying on piano), then emailed it to Burbank for discussion at the next video conference. Lopez and Anderson-Lopez were aware of the fact that their work would be compared to that of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from the Disney Renaissance era, and whenever they felt lost, they asked "What would Ashman do?" In the end, they wrote 25 songs for the film, of which eight made it into the final version. One song ("For the First Time in Forever") had a reprise and the other ("Let It Go") was covered by Demi Lovato over the final credits, for a total of ten songs. Seven of the 17 that did not make it were later released on the deluxe edition soundtrack.
In February 2013, Christophe Beck was hired to score the film, following his work on Paperman, a Disney animated short film released the year prior to Frozen. It was revealed on September 14, 2013, that Sámi musician Frode Fjellheim's Eatnemen Vuelie would be the film's opening song, as it contains elements of the traditional Sámi singing style joik. The music producers recruited a Norwegian linguist to assist with the lyrics for an Old Norse song written for Elsa's coronation, and also traveled to Trondheim, Norway to record the all-female choir Cantus, for a piece inspired by traditional Sámi music.
Under the supervision of sound engineer David Boucher, the lead cast members began recording the film's vocal tracks in October 2012 at the Sunset Sound recording studio in Hollywood before the songs had been orchestrated, meaning they heard only Lopez's demo piano track in their headphones as they sang. Most of the dialogue was recorded at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building in Burbank under the supervision of original dialogue mixer Gabriel Guy, who also mixed the film's sound effects. Some dialogue was recorded after recording songs at both Sunset Sound and Capitol Studios; for scenes involving Anna and Elsa, both studios offered vocal isolation booths where Menzel and Bell could read dialogue with line-of-sight with one another while avoiding "bleedthrough" between their respective tracks. Additional dialogue was recorded at an ADR facility on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank (across the street from the Disney Animation building) and at the Soundtrack Group's New York studio since the production team had to work around the busy schedules of the film's New York-based cast members like Fontana.
Lopez and Anderson-Lopez's piano-vocal scores for the songs along with the vocal tracks were sent to Salem, Oregon-based Dave Metzger for arrangement and orchestration; Metzger also orchestrated a significant portion of Beck's score.
For the orchestral film score, Beck paid homage to the Norway- and Sápmi-inspired setting by employing regional instruments, such as the bukkehorn, and traditional vocal techniques, such as kulning. Beck worked with Lopez and Anderson-Lopez on incorporating their songs into arrangements in the score. The trio's goal "was to create a cohesive musical journey from beginning to end." Similarly, Beck's scoring mixer Casey Stone (who also supervised the recording of the score) worked with Boucher to align their microphone setups to ensure the transitions between the songs and score were seamless, even though they were separately recorded on different dates. The final orchestrations of both the songs and score were all recorded at the Eastwood Scoring Stage on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank by an 80-piece orchestra, featuring 32 vocalists, including native Norwegian Christine Hals. Boucher supervised the recording of Anderson-Lopez and Lopez's songs from July 22 to 24, 2013, then Stone supervised the recording of Beck's score from September 3 to 6 and 9 to 10. Boucher mixed the songs at the Eastwood stage, while Stone mixed the score at Beck's personal studio in Santa Monica, California.
Regarding the sound of Frozen, director Jennifer Lee stated that sound played a huge part in making the film "visceral" and "transported"; she explained, "in letting it tell the story emotionally, the sound of the ice when it's at its most dangerous just makes you shudder." The complete silence at the climax of the film right after Anna freezes was Lasseter's idea, one he "really wanted". In that scene, even the ambient sound that would normally be there was taken out in order to make it feel unusual. Lee explained, "that was a moment where we wanted everything to feel suspended."
To obtain certain snow and ice sound effects, sound designer Odin Benitez traveled to Mammoth Mountain, California to record them at a frozen lake. However, the foley work for the film was recorded on the foley stage on the Warner Bros. lot by a Warner Bros. crew. The foley artists received daily deliveries of 50 pounds (22.6 kg) of snow ice while working, to help them record all the necessary snow and ice sounds for the film. For nearly every single footstep on snow in the film, five versions were recorded (corresponding to five different types of snow), then one was later selected to match the snow as rendered in the final version of each scene. One issue that the production team was "particular" about was the sound of Elsa's footsteps in the ice palace, which required eight attempts, including wine glasses on ice and metal knives on ice; they ended up using a mix of three sounds.
Although the vocals, music, sound effects and almost all the dialogue were all recorded elsewhere, the final re-recording mix to Dolby Atmos format was performed at the Disney lot by Casey E. Fluhr of Disney Digital Studio Services.
Like other Disney media products which are often localized through Disney Character Voices International, Frozen was translated and dubbed into 41 languages (compared with only 15 for The Lion King). A major challenge was to find sopranos capable of matching Menzel's warm vocal tone and three-octave vocal range in their native languages. Rick Dempsey, the unit's senior executive, regarded the process of translating the film as "exceptionally challenging"; he explained, "It's a difficult juggling act to get the right intent of the lyrics and also have it match rhythmically to the music. And then you have to go back and adjust for lip sync! It...requires a lot of patience and precision." Lopez explained that they were told by Disney to remove complex wordplay and puns from their songs, to ensure the film was easily translatable and had globally appealing lyrics. For the casting of dubbed versions, Disney required native speakers in order to "ensure that the film feels 'local'." They used Bell and Menzel's voices as their "blueprint" in casting, and tried to match the voices "as much as possible", meaning that they auditioned approximately 200 singers to fill the 41 slots. For nearly 15 dubbed versions, they cast Elsa's singing and speaking parts separately, since not all vocalists could act the part they were singing.
Frozen was released theatrically in the United States on November 27, 2013, and it was accompanied by the new Mickey Mouse animated short film Get a Horse! The film's premiere was at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on November 19, 2013, and had a five-day limited release there, starting from November 22, before going into wide release.
Prior to the film's release, Lopez and Anderson-Lopez's "Let It Go" and "In Summer" were previewed at the 2013 D23 Expo; Idina Menzel performed the former. A teaser trailer had been released on June 18, 2013, followed by the release of the official trailer on September 26, 2013. Frozen was also promoted heavily at several Disney theme parks including Disneyland's Fantasyland, Disney California Adventure's World of Color, Epcot's Norway pavilion, and Disneyland Paris' Disney Dreams! show, with meet-and-greet sessions involving the film's two main characters Anna and Elsa. On November 6, 2013, Disney Consumer Products began releasing a line of toys and other merchandise relating to the film in Disney Store and other retailers.
On January 31, 2014, a sing-along issue of Frozen was released in 2,057 theaters in the United States. This version featured on-screen lyrics, and viewers were invited to follow the bouncing snowflake and sing along with the songs from the film. After its wide release in Japan on March 14, 2014, a similar sing-along version of Frozen was released in the country in select theaters on April 26. In Japanese-dubbed versions, Japanese lyrics of the songs appeared on screen for audiences to sing along with the characters.
- Main article: Frozen (video)
Frozen was released for digital download on February 25, 2014, on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon. It was subsequently. It was also released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on March 18, 2014. Bonus features for the Blu-ray release include "The Making of Frozen", a three-minute musical production about how the film was made, "D'frosted", an inside look at how Disney tried to adapt the original fairy tale into an animated feature, four deleted scenes with introduction by the directors, the original theatrical short Get a Horse!, the film's teaser trailer, and "Let It Go" (End Credit Version) music videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel, and Marsha Milan Londoh; while the DVD release only includes Get a Horse!, "Let It Go" musical videos and the film's teaser trailer. This is one of the three Disney releases on that day to be encoded. Beginning with The Pirate Fairy, the 32-year old encoding deal has been ended (From 1982-2014.)
On its first day of release on Blu-ray and DVD, Frozen sold 3.2 million units, becoming one of the biggest home video sellers in the last decade, as well as Amazon's best-selling children's disc of all time. The digital download release of the film also set a record for the fastest-selling digital release of all time. Frozen finished its first week at No. 1 in unit sales in the United States, selling more than three times as many units as other 19 titles in the charts combined, according to the Nielsen's sales chart. The film sold 3,969,270 Blu-ray units (the equivalent of $79,266,322) during its first week, which accounted for 50 percent of its opening home media sales. It topped the U.S. home video sales charts for six non-consecutive weeks out of seven weeks of release, as of May 4, 2014. In the United Kingdom, Frozen debuted at No. 1 in Blu-ray and DVD sales on the Official Video Chart. According to Official Charts Company, more than 500,000 copies of the film were sold in its two-day opening (March 31 – April 1, 2014). During its three first weeks of release in the United Kingdom, Frozen sold more than 1.45 million units, becoming the biggest selling video title of 2014 so far in the country. Frozen has sold 2,025,000 Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo sets in Japan in 4 weeks, becoming the fastest-selling home video to sell 2 million copies, beating the previous record of 11 weeks by Spirited Away. Frozen also holds the records for highest number of home video units sold on the first official day of sales and in the first official week of sales in Japan.
A sing-along edition of the film was released on DVD and Digital HD on November 18, 2014. It was the first Walt Disney Animation Studios feature to not to be encoded.
A video game titled Frozen: Olaf's Quest was released on November 19, 2013, for Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. Developed by 1st Playable Productions and published by GameMill Entertainment, it takes place after the events of the film. In the game, Olaf must use his unique snowman abilities to try and stay in one piece throughout 60 levels. Anna and Elsa were released as figurines in the Frozen toy box pack for the toy-based video game Disney Infinity on November 26, 2013, and both figures were released separately on March 11, 2014. Additionally, Disney Mobile released a match-three game titled Frozen: Free Fall for iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms. It takes place in the kingdom of Arendelle and closely follows the original story of the film, in which players can team up with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Hans, Olaf, Pabbie and Sven to match puzzles with the help of each character's special power-ups. Six mini-games can be played on the Disney website. Sony released a limited-edition Frozen-themed PlayStation 4 console in Japan at the time the film was released into the Japanese home video market. Demi Lovato's cover of "Let It Go" will appear as a playable song in Fantasia: Music Evolved.
Trademark infringement lawsuit
In late December 2013, The Walt Disney Company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in California federal court seeking an injunction against the continued distribution of the French film The Legend of Sarila produced by 10th Ave Productions and CarpeDiem Film & TV and distributed by Phase 4 Films, which had been retitled Frozen Land. Disney alleged that less than three weeks prior to the release of Frozen, Phase 4 theatrically released The Legend of Sarila, which garnered "minimal box office revenues and received no significant attention"; and to trade off the success of the Disney's animated film, Phase 4 had "redesigned the artwork, packaging, logo, and other promotional materials for its newly (and intentionally misleadingly) retitled film to mimic those used by [Disney] for Frozen and related merchandise". While film titles cannot be trademarked by law, Disney had cited a number of similarities between the new Phase 4's Frozen logo and Disney's original one. By late January 2014, the two companies had settled the case; the settlement stated that the distribution and promotion of The Legend of Sarila and related merchandise must use its original title, and Phase 4 must not use trademarks, logos or other designs confusingly similar to Disney's animated release. Phase 4 was also required to pay Disney $100,000 before January 27, 2014 and make "all practicable efforts" to remove copies of Frozen Land from stores and online distributors before March 3, 2014.
- November 20, 2013 (Armenia, France, Georgia)
- November 28, 2013 (Germany, Macedonia, Israel, Croatia, Portugal, Singapore)
- November 29, 2013 (Bulgaria, Spain, Indonesia, Poland, India)
- December 4, 2013 (France, Belgium)
- December 5, 2013 (Hungary, Cambodia, Slovenia, Thailand)
- December 6, 2013 (UK, Ireland)
- December 7, 2013 (UAE)
- December 11, 2013 (Netherlands)
- December 12, 2013 (Russia)
- December 13, 2013 (Iceland, Vietnam)
- December 18, 2013 (Egypt)
- December 19, 2013 (Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Kuwait, Mexico, Ukraine)
- December 20, 2013 (Finland, Pakistan, South Africa)
- December 25, 2013 (Denmark, Norway)
- December 26, 2013 (Australia, New Zealand, Serbia)
- December 27, 2013 (Romania, Taiwan)
- January 2, 2014 (Argentina, Chile)
- January 3, 2014 (Brazil, Lithuania)
- January 16, 2014 (Spain, South Korea)
- January 17, 2014 (Estonia, Turkey)
- February 5, 2014 (China)
- February 14, 2014 (Bangladesh)
- March 14, 2014 (Japan)
- May 26, 2014 (Albania)
- October 9, 2014 (Iran, by Glory Entertainment)
Frozen earned $400,738,009 in North America, and an estimated $873,481,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $1,274,219,009. It is the fifth highest-grossing film, the highest-grossing animated film, the highest-grossing 2013 film, the highest-grossing Walt Disney Pictures release, and the second highest-grossing film distributed by Disney. The film earned $110.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend. On March 2, 2014, it's one hundred first day of release, it surpassed the $1 billion mark, becoming the eighteenth film in cinematic history, the seventh Disney-distributed film, the fifth non-sequel film, the second Disney-distributed film in 2013 (after Iron Man 3), and the second animated film (after Toy Story 3) to do so.
Bloomberg Businessweek magazine reported in March 2014 that outside analysts had projected the film's total cost at somewhere around $323 million to $350 million for production, marketing, and distribution, and had also projected that the film would generate $1.3 billion in revenue from box office ticket sales, digital downloads, discs and television rights.
Frozen became Fandango's top advance ticket-seller among original animated films, ahead of the previous record-holder Brave, and became the top-selling animated film in the company's history in late January 2014. The sing-along version of the film later topped the best-selling list of the movie ticketing service again for three days. Frozen opened on Friday, November 22, 2013, exclusively at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for a five-day limited release and earned $342,839 before its wide opening on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. During the three-day weekend, it earned $243,390, scoring the seventh largest per-theater average. On the opening day of its wide release, the film earned $15.2 million (including $800,000 from Tuesday previews) and set a record for the highest pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday opening, ahead of Tangled ($11.9 million). It was also the second largest pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday among all films, behind Catching Fire ($20.8 million). The film finished in second place over the traditional three-day weekend (Friday-to-Sunday) with $67.4 million, setting an opening weekend record among Walt Disney Animation Studios films. It also scored the second largest opening weekend among films that did not debut at #1. Female audiences accounted for 57% of Frozen's total audiences on the first weekend, while family audiences held a proportion of 81%. Among films that opened during Thanksgiving, it set new records; three-day ($67.4 million from Friday to Sunday) and five-day ($93.6 million from Wednesday to Sunday). It also achieved the second largest three-day and five-day Thanksgiving gross among all films, behind Catching Fire.
During its second weekend of wide release, Frozen declined 53% to $31.6 million, but jumped to first place, setting a record for the largest post-Thanksgiving weekend, ahead of Toy Story 2 ($27.8 million). Frozen became the first film since Avatar to reach first place in its sixth weekend of wide release. It remained in the top 10 at the box office for sixteen consecutive weekends (the longest run by any film since 2002) and achieved large weekend grosses from its fifth to its twelfth weekend (of wide release), compared to other films in their respective weekends. On April 25, 2014, Frozen became the nineteenth movie to gross $400 million in North America and the fifteenth to do so without a major re-release.
In North America, Frozen is the nineteenth highest-grossing film, the third highest-grossing 2013 film, the fourth highest-grossing animated film, the highest-grossing 2013 animated film, the fifth highest-grossing 3-D film, and the second highest-grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film. Excluding re-releases, it has the highest-grossing initial run among non-sequel animated films (a record previously held by Finding Nemo) and among Walt Disney Animation Studios films (a record previously held by The Lion King).
Outside North America
Frozen is the fifth highest-grossing film, the highest-grossing animated film, and the highest-grossing 2013 film. It is the highest-grossing animated film of all time in South Korea, Denmark and Venezuela. It is also the highest-grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film in more than 45 territories, including the Latin America region (specifically in Mexico and Brazil), the UK, Ireland, and Malta, Russia and the CIS, Ukraine, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and China.
The film made its debut outside North America on the same weekend as its wide North American release and earned $16.7 million from sixteen markets. It topped the box office outside North America for two weekends in 2014; January 10–12 ($27.8 million) and February 7–9 ($24 million). Overall, its largest opening weekends occurred in China (five-day opening of $14.3 million), Russia and the CIS ($11.9 million, including previews from previous weekend), where the film set an opening weekend record among Disney animated films (ahead of Tangled), and Japan (three-day opening of $9.73 million). It set an opening weekend record among animated films in Sweden. In total earnings, the film's top market after North America is Japan ($247.6 million), followed by South Korea ($76.6 million), and the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Malta ($65.7 million). In South Korea, Frozen is the second largest foreign film both in terms of attendance and gross, the largest Disney release and the first animated film to earn more than ten million admissions. In Japan, it is the third highest-grossing film of all time, the second highest grossing imported film (behind Titanic) and the highest-grossing Disney film. It topped the country's box office for sixteen consecutive weekends until being surpassed by another Disney release, Maleficent.
Ray Subers, writing for Box Office Mojo, compared Frozen with Disney's 2010 animated feature Tangled, saying that its story wasn't as "immediately interesting" and its marketing also aimed at boys, similar to that of Tangled. Noting that the 2013 holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas) lacked compelling content for families, Subers predicted that the film would "play well all the way through Christmas" and end up grossing $185 million in North America (similar to Wreck-It Ralph). Boxoffice.com noted the success of previous Disney's animated films released during the holiday season (Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph), but argued that the cast might not attract audiences due to the lack of major stars. They issued a $170,000,000 North America box office forecast for the film. Chris Agar from ScreenRant shared the same opinion, citing a string of recent box office successes of the studio, and added that Frozen would fill a void of kid-friendly films in the marketplace, but did not expect it to surpass Catching Fire in terms of box office gross.
Clayton Dillard of Slant Magazine commented that while trailers made the film seem "pallid", positive critical reviews could attract interest from both "core demographics" and adult audiences and that Frozen stood good chances of surpassing Tangled's Thanksgiving three-day opening record. Brad Brevet of Ropeofsilicon.com described the film's marketing as a "severely hit and miss" campaign, which could affect its box office performance. After Frozen finished its first weekend with a record $93.6 million during Thanksgiving, most box-office watchers predicted that it would end up grossing between $250 and $300 million in North America. Breitbart.com suggested that with "strong buzz" and "huge family audience support", Frozen would "easily break the $130 million" mark in North America. Box Office Mojo reissued a $250-million box office prediction in North America for the film, citing that it would be "the exclusive choice for family audiences" and attributed its successful opening to strong word-of-mouth, the studio's marketing, which highlighted the connection between Frozen and Disney's previous successful releases like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, as well as the elements of humor. In an interview conducted in early December 2013, Dave Hollis, Disney's distribution executive, praised the efforts of the filmmakers and the studio's marketing team: "For a company whose foundation is built on animation, an opening like this is really great." He further commented that audiences could be "very targeted with a message", and that Frozen aimed at general audience instead of any one particular audience segment.
When Frozen became a tremendous and unexpected success, Bilge Ebiri of Vulture analyzed the film's elements and pointed out eight factors that led to its success. He explained that Frozen managed to capture the classic Disney spirit of the Disney Renaissance's films and even early classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Cinderella. He also wrote that the film has Olaf, a "wisecracking, irreverent" sidekick with mild humor which is "a requirement of modern animated kids' movies", and its "witty, catchy" songs were "pretty good." Furthermore, Ebiri noted that Frozen was a "revisionist" film that didn't "have a typical villain"; Elsa, the person who should be the villain didn't turn out to be a villain, but "a girl who's having trouble". She was the one who "created most of the challenges for the film's more typical heroes — Princess Anna". The story of two sisters who went separated when they grew up were real-life overtones with many audiences who had siblings, and the struggle of Elsa to overcome the shame and fear of her powers was also relatable. Finally, he commented that the fact that Frozen had two strong female characters and a twist to usual romantic subplot, when the traditional "Prince Charming" — Prince Hans — turned out to be a gold-digging villain, and "an act of true love" that Anna needed to be turned out to come from her sister Elsa, were among factors which attracted female audiences. Scott Davis of Forbes commented that the film's marketing aiming at both sexes and the success of its soundtrack drove Frozen ahead in terms of commercial achievements.
The commercial success of Frozen in Japan was considered as a "phenomenon" and was reported by a number of media outlets. Released in the market as Anna and the Snow Queen, the film had increased its gross each week in three first weeks of release, and only started to drop in the fourth; while other films usually peak in the opening week and decline in the latter ones. Frozen has received over 7 million admissions in Japan as of April 16, and nearly 18.7 million admissions as of June 23. Many cinemagoers were reported to have watched both the original and the Japanese-dubbed version. Japan Today also reported that the local dubbed version was "particularly popular" in the country. Gavin J. Blair of The Hollywood Reporter commented on the film's earnings in Japan that "Even after its $9.6 million (￥986.4 million) three-day opening, a record bow for a Disney animation in Japan, few would have predicted the kind of numbers Frozen has now racked up." Disney's head of distribution Dave Hollis said in an interview that "It's become very clear that the themes and emotions of Frozen transcend geography, but what's going on in Japan is extraordinary." "Frozen's success doesn't benefit from a general appetite for American films in Japan" (as reported by International Business Times), but according Akira Lippit of USC School of Cinematic Arts, there were several factors that constituted this phenomenon: besides the fact that animated films "are held in great regard in Japan, and the Disney brand name with all of its heritage is extremely valuable", "the biggest reason is the primary audience for the 'Frozen' — 13- to 17-year old teenage girls." He further explained that audiences of this age range had a vital role in shaping Japanese pop culture and "'Frozen' has so many elements that appeal to them, with its story of a young girl with power and mystique, who finds her own sort of good in herself." He compared the current situation of the film with a similar phenomenon with Titanic in 1997, "when millions of Japanese teen girls turned out to watch Leonard DiCaprio go under — several times", and that Frozen would repeat the same business. Another reason that contributed to the film's success in the market was that Disney took great care in choosing "high quality" voice actors for the Japanese-dubbed version since Japan's pop music scene had an important role, particularly with teenage audiences. Orika Hiromura, the marketing project leader for Frozen of Disney Japan, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that "We really put effort into finding actors who could not only play the role but also belt out the tunes as well. We found the perfect match in Takako Matsu and Sayaka Kanda, and they really added a whole new dimension to the storytelling."
When asked about the phenomenal success of Frozen, director Chris Buck stated: "We never expected anything like this. We just hoped to make a movie that did as well as Tangled! I hoped the audience would embrace it and respond to it, but there's no way we could have predicted this." He named a number of reasons that lead to the film's popularity: "There are characters that people relate to; the songs are so strong and memorable. We also have some flawed characters, which is what Jen[nifer Lee] and I like to do -- we essentially create two imperfect princesses." He also said that what people could infer from the film had "blow[n] me away." As Frozen approached the first anniversary of its release, Menzel mentioned the film's continuing popularity in an October 2014 interview: "It's just a remarkable thing. Usually, you do a project and it has its moment. This just feels like it keeps going."
Frozen opened to strong early reviews, with several critics comparing the film favorably to the films of the Disney Renaissance, particularly The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Indeed, some journalists thought the film's success marked a second Disney Renaissance. The film was praised for its visuals, themes, musical numbers, screenplay, and voice acting, especially of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Josh Gad. The "Let It Go" musical sequence was repeatedly singled out for praise; some critics called it one of the best film sequences of the year. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 227 reviews, with an average score of 7.7/10, making it the highest-rated family film in 2013. The site's consensus reads: "Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 74 based on 43 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews." CinemaScore gave Frozen an "A+" on an A+ to F scale, based on polls conducted during the opening weekend. Surveys conducted by Fandango among 1,000 ticket buyers showed that 75% of purchasers had seen the film at least once, and 52% had seen it twice. It was also pointed out that 55% of audiences identified "Let It Go" as their favorite song, while "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" and "For the First Time in Forever" held proportions of 21% and 9%, respectively. Frozen was named the seventh best film of 2013 by Richard Corliss of Time and Kyle Smith of the New York Post.
Alonso Duralde of The Wrap wrote that the film is "the best animated musical to come out of Disney since the tragic death of lyricist Howard Ashman, whose work on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast helped build the studio's modern animated division into what it is today." He also said that "while it lags the tiniest bit on its way to the conclusion, the script... really delivers; it offers characters to care about, along with some nifty twists and surprises along the way." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter observed Frozen as a true musical and wrote, "You can practically see the Broadway musical Frozen is destined to become while watching Disney's 3D animated princess tale." McCarthy described the film as "energetic, humorous and not too cloying, as well as the first Hollywood film in many years to warn of global cooling rather than warming, this tuneful toon upgrades what has been a lackluster year for big studio animated fare and, beginning with its Thanksgiving opening, should live up to box office expectations as one of the studio's hoped-for holiday-spanning blockbusters." Kyle Smith of the New York Post awarded the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and praised the film as "a great big snowy pleasure with an emotionally gripping core, brilliant Broadway-style songs and a crafty plot. Its first and third acts are better than the jokey middle, but this is the rare example of a Walt Disney Animation Studios effort that reaches as deep as a Pixar film." Scott Mendelson of Forbes wrote, "Frozen is both a declaration of Disney's renewed cultural relevance and a reaffirmation of Disney coming to terms with its own legacy and its own identity. It's also a just plain terrific bit of family entertainment."
The Los Angeles Times extolled the film's ensemble voice talent and elaborate musical sequences, and declared Frozen as "a welcome return to greatness for Walt Disney Animation Studios." Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman gave the film a "B+" grade and labeled it as a "squarely enchanting fairy tale that shows you how the definition of what's fresh in animation can shift." Richard Corliss of Time stated that "It's great to see Disney returning to its roots and blooming anew: creating superior musical entertainment that draws on the Walt tradition of animation splendor and the verve of Broadway present." Richard Roeper wrote that the film was an "absolute delight from start to finish." Both Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune and Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised the film's characters and musical sequences, which also drew comparisons to the theatrics found in Wicked. Emma Dibdin of Digital Spy awarded the film five out of five stars and called the film "a new Disney classic" and "an exhilarating, joyous, human story that's as frequently laugh-out-loud funny as it is startling and daring and poignant. Hot on the heels of the 90th anniversary, it's impossible to imagine a more perfect celebration of everything Disney is at its best." Frozen was also praised in Norwegian Sámi media as showcasing Sámi culture (which historically has faced attempted eradication by the Norwegian state) to a broad audience in a good way. Composer Frode Fjellheim was lauded by Norwegian Sámi President Aili Keskitalo for his contributions to the film, during the President's 2014 New Year's speech.
Scott Foundas of Variety, was less impressed with the film, but nevertheless commended its voice acting and technical artistry: "The tactile, snow-capped Arendelle landscape, including Elsa's ice-castle retreat is Frozen's other true marvel, enhanced by 3D and the decision to shoot in widescreen – a nod to the CinemaScope richness of Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp." The Seattle Times gave the film two out of four stars, stating that "While it is an often gorgeous film with computer-generated fjords and ice sculptures and castle interiors, the important thing that glues all this stuff together; story is sadly lacking." Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also criticized the story as the film's weakest point. Writing on Roger Ebert's website, Christy Lemire gave a mixed review in which she awarded two-and-a-half stars out of four. Lemire praised the visuals and the performance of "Let It Go", as well as the positive messages Frozen sends. However, she referred to the film as "cynical" and criticized it as an "attempt to shake things up without shaking them up too much." She also noted the similarity between Elsa and another well-known fictional female who unleashes paranormal powers when agitated, Carrie.
In contrast to those lukewarm reviews, actress Mayim Bialik published a blunt critique of the film on her parenting blog on September 17, 2014. She contended that the film is essentially about male-bashing, but is actually not truly feminist because it is still driven by a woman's search for a man, while the female characters look like Bratz dolls and do not even "look like the same species as the male characters". The next day on U.S. daytime talk show The View (broadcast nationwide on Disney-owned TV network ABC), an indignant Rosie O'Donnell responded to Bialik by defending the film as "the best Disney movie ever made."
Portrayal of emotions and perceived LGBT parallels
Allegations of sexism occurred following a statement by Lino DiSalvo, the film's head of animation, who said to Fan Voice's Jenna Busch: "Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty." However, a Disney spokesperson later told Time that DiSalvo's quote was widely misinterpreted stating that he was "describing some technical aspects of CG animation and not making a general comment on animating females versus males or other characters." Director Jennifer Lee also said that his words were recklessly taken out of context and that he was talking in very technical terms about CG animation. "It is hard no matter what the gender is. I felt horrible for him," she said. In an August 2014 interview, DiSalvo explained what he had been trying to explain all along when his statements were taken out of context—the difficulty with turning any kind of animated character from a series of sketches on a 2D emotion model sheet into a properly rigged 3D character model: "Translating that emotional range onto a CG character is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Male. Female. Snowman. Animal." He added, "The really sad thing is people took that ... catchy headline and they just repopulated it everywhere. People didn't get back to me for comments and the sad thing is that's the way the internet works. They don't want the truth."
Several viewers outside the film industry, such as evangelical pastors and commentators, argued that Frozen promotes normalization of homosexuality, while others believed that the main character Elsa represents a positive image of LGBT youth, viewing the film and the song "Let It Go" as a metaphor for coming out. These claims were met with mixed reactions from both audiences and the LGBT community. When asked about perceptions of a homosexual undertone in the film, director Jennifer Lee said, "We know what we made. But at the same time, I feel like once we hand the film over, it belongs to the world, so I don't like to say anything, and let the fans talk. I think it's up to them." She also mentioned that Disney films were made in different eras and were all celebrated for different reasons, but a 2013 film would have a "2013 point of view."
Frozen was nominated for various awards and won a number of them, including several for Best Animated Feature. The song "Let It Go" was particularly praised. The film was nominated for two Golden Globes at the 71st Golden Globe Awards and won for Best Animated Feature, becoming the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win in this category. It also won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("Let It Go"), the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), five Annie Awards (including Best Animated Feature), and two Critics' Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("Let It Go"). It received other similar nominations at the Satellite Awards, and various critics' groups and circles.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result|
|Academy Awards||March 2, 2014|
|Best Animated Feature||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho||Won|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"|
|African-American Film Critics Association||December 13, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||December 19, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee||Nominated|
|Best Woman Director||Jennifer Lee|
|Best Woman Screenwriter|
|Best Animated Female||Anna (Kristen Bell)||Won|
|Elsa (Idina Menzel)||Nominated|
|American Cinema Editors||February 7, 2014||Best Edited Animated Feature Film||Jeff Draheim||Won|
|Annie Awards||February 1, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production||Tony Smeed||Nominated|
|Character Design in an Animated Feature Production||Bill Schwab|
|Directing in an Animated Feature Production||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee||Won|
|Music in an Animated Feature Production||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Christophe Beck|
|Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Michael Giaimo, Lisa Keene, David Womersley|
|Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production||John Ripa||Nominated|
|Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Josh Gad|
as the voice of Olaf
|Writing in an Animated Feature Production||Jennifer Lee||Nominated|
|Editorial in an Animated Feature Production||Jeff Draheim|
|Austin Film Critics Association||December 17, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|Boston Online Film Critics Association||December 7, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen (tied with The Wind Rises)||Tied|
|Boston Society of Film Critics||December 8, 2013||Best Animated Film||Frozen||Runner-up|
|British Academy Film Awards||February 16, 2014||Best Animated Film||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Nominated|
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||February 22, 2014||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures – Animated||Gabriel Guy, David E. Fluhr, Casey Stone, Mary Jo Lang||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 16, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"|
|Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Denver Film Critics Society||January 13, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"|
|Best Original Score||Christophe Beck||Nominated|
|Dorian Awards||January 21, 2014||Visually Striking Film of the Year||Frozen|
|Dubai International Film Festival||December 13, 2013||Emirates NBD People's Choice Award||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee||Won|
|Florida Film Critics Circle||December 18, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||January 10, 2014||Best Animated Film||Frozen|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 12, 2014||Best Animated Feature Film||Frozen||Won|
|Best Original Song – Motion Picture||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"||Nominated|
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 9, 2014||Best Animated Film||Frozen||Won|
|Houston Film Critics Society||December 15, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Best Original Song||"Let It Go"|
Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
|Hugo Awards||August 17, 2014||Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)||Frozen||Nominated|
|Indiana Film Critics Association||December 19, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|International 3D Society's Creative Arts Awards||January 28, 2014||Best Animated 3D Feature Film||Frozen|
|Best Stereography – Animation||Frozen|
|Iowa Film Critics Association||January 10, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Kansas City Film Critics Circle||December 15, 2013||Best Animated Film||Frozen (tied with Despicable Me 2)||Tied|
|Kids' Choice Awards||March 29, 2014||Favorite Animated Movie||Frozen||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||December 18, 2013||Best Animated Film||Frozen|
|Made-in-Hollywood Awards||February 13, 2014||Made-in-Hollywood Award||Frozen (shared with The Croods and Her)|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||February 16, 2014||Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature Film||Frozen||Nominated|
|Best Sound Editing – Music in a Musical Feature Film||Frozen||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle||December 3, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Runner-up|
|North Texas Film Critics Association||January 7, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|Oklahoma Film Critics Circle||January 7, 2014||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Online Film Critics Society||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||January 8, 2014||Favorite Year End Movie||Frozen|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||December 17, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"|
|Best Original Score||Christophe Beck|
|Producers Guild of America Award||January 19, 2014||Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures||Peter Del Vecho|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Nominated|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle||December 15, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|Satellite Awards||February 23, 2014||Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media||Frozen||Nominated|
|Best Original Song||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for "Let It Go"|
|Saturn Awards||June 26, 2014||Best Animated Film||Frozen||Won|
|Best Writing||Jennifer Lee||Nominated|
|Southeastern Film Critics Association||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Won|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Film||Frozen|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||December 17, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen||Nominated|
|UK Regional Critics' Film Awards||January 29, 2014||Best Animated Film||Frozen||Won|
|Utah Film Critics Association||December 20, 2013||Best Animated Film||Frozen|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||February 12, 2014||Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Lino Di Salvo|
|Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Bringing the Snow Queen to Life (Alexander Alvarado, Joy Johnson, Chad Stubblefield, Wayne Unten)|
|Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Elsa's Ice Palace (Virgilio John Aquino, Alessandro Jacomini, Lance Summers, David Womersley)|
|Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Elsa's Blizzard (Eric W. Araujo, Marc Bryant, Dong Joo Byun, Tim Molinder)|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||December 9, 2013||Best Animated Feature||Frozen|
|Best Score||Christophe Beck||Nominated|
|Women Film Critics Circle||December 16, 2013||Best Animated Females||Frozen||Won|
During spring and summer 2014, several journalists observed that Frozen was unusually catchy in comparison to the vast majority of films, in that many children in both the U.S. and the UK were watching Frozen so many times that they now knew all the songs by heart and kept singing them again and again at every opportunity to the distress of their hapless parents, teachers, and classmates. Columnist Joel Stein of Time magazine wrote about his young son Laszlo's frustration with the inescapable "cultural assault" of Frozen at preschool and all social and extracurricular activities, and how he had arranged for a Skype call with lead actress Bell after Laszlo began asking why the film was made. When Laszlo asked whether Bell knew when she made Frozen that it would take over kids' lives, she replied: "I did not know that people would not let it go. No pun intended." When Terry Gross raised a similar point with songwriters Lopez and Anderson-Lopez in an April interview on NPR, they explained there was simply no way they could have known how popular their work on Frozen would become. They were just trying to "tell a story that resonated" and "that didn't suck."
In a 2014 mid-year report of the top 100 commonly-used baby names conducted by Babycentre.co.uk, Elsa was ranked 88, the first time ever of a certain girl's name to enter this chart. Sarah Barrett, managing director of the site, explained that while the film's popular heroine is called Anna, "Elsa offers a more unique name and is also a strong female role model." Many parents revealed that their choices of the name were "heavily influenced" by the siblings. Vice president of Disney UK Anna Hill later commented that "We're delighted that Elsa is a popular name for babies and it's lovely to hear that for many families, it is actually their siblings who have chosen it," and that "Elsa's fight to overcome her fears and the powerful strength of the family bond" were relatable to many families.
In January 2014, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that Disney Theatrical Productions is in early development of a Broadway stage musical adaptation of Frozen. No specific date has yet been set for this adaptation. "We're not demanding speed," Iger said. "We're demanding excellence." A microsite for the stage adaptation has been launched by Disney, where users can sign up to receive email updates on the musical.
During The Walt Disney Company's 2014 first-quarter earnings conference call on February 5, 2014, Iger congratulated "all those involved with Frozen" and reiterated that it would "be going to Broadway. He also noted that Frozen "has real franchise potential" and predicted that "You will see Frozen in more places than you've certainly seen today.
At the end of March 2014, Del Vecho confirmed that there had been "discussions on how we can support the [film's] characters at other locations [and] [w]e are also discussing making a theatrical [musical] version of Frozen, but these things take time." In late June, Anderson-Lopez and Lopez said there will be a musical based on Frozen within "a few years".
In an October 2014 interview, Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Group, disclosed that discussions about a musical had begun even before the film was released almost a year earlier. After watching Frozen at a pre-release midnight screening, he texted Lasseter at 1:30 a.m. with "When can we start?" and got a call back from Lasseter within 60 seconds. Schumacher explained: "My job is to corral the writers of the movie. I'm already talking to directors, and I have a design concept, and we have to begin to fashion this idea. It doesn't need to be fast. It needs to be great."
In the February earnings call, Iger alluded to "high demand for Frozen merchandise," which was expanded upon by Disney senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Jay Rasulo: "Over the most recent quarter...if I had to pick out a single item, I would say Frozen items were the single most demanded items at Disney Stores." In March 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Disney had sold almost 500,000 Anna and Elsa dolls, with a 5,000 limited-edition run selling out online in only 45 minutes in January. Demand only increased further after the mid-March home video release; toy industry expert Jim Silver explained home video enabled children to "watch it over and over again" and "fall in love" with the film's characters. Chris Buck mentioned in an April 2014 interview that the directors hadn't bought anything for themselves "thinking it wouldn't be a problem, and now everything's sold out!"
By mid-April, U.S. consumer demand for Frozen merchandise was so high that resale prices for higher-quality limited-edition Frozen dolls and costumes had skyrocketed past $1,000 on eBay, both Disney and its licensees had arranged for air freight to rush fresh inventory to retailers besieged by desperate parents, and some of those parents had begun publicly venting their frustration through social media outlets such as the Disney Store's Facebook page. Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan compared the situation to the 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids craze, where "the demand is ... driven by the scarcity because of the social status attached to being able to find it". Fed up with the shortage, some parents took a "do it yourself" approach, and others went for custom-made replicas on crafts sites like Etsy. Similar shortages of Frozen merchandise were reported during spring 2014 in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Singapore.
In a mid-April interview, Disney Store Vice President Jonathan Storey admitted that although Disney had high expectations for the film, "demand went even higher than they thought it ever would." He also promised that more Frozen merchandise would be delivered to Disney Store locations immediately through regular shipments and that new products were being developed for release throughout the year. By the end of April, Disney Parks had imposed a five-item limit at its stores, while Disney Store had imposed a two-item limit, restricted the release of the most popular items to store opening on Saturday mornings, and required guests to enter into a lottery on those mornings just for the chance to purchase the very popular Elsa costumes.
During the Walt Disney Company's 2014 second-quarter earnings call on May 6, 2014, Iger said Frozen "is definitely up there in terms of, probably, our top five franchises", and that the company will "take full advantage of that over the next at least five years." He also explained Disney was still working on the musical, as well as publishing, interactive, and theme park projects. Rasulo disclosed that nine of the ten best-selling items at Disney Store in the second quarter were Frozen-related.
In response to demand from private art collectors for official Frozen-inspired fine art, the first batch of 10 artworks approved by Disney Fine Art went on sale on May 8, 2014, at an art gallery in Sacramento, California.
A few days earlier, on May 1, 2014, it had been reported that Disney Consumer Products was developing a comprehensive program of new Frozen merchandise for 2014 and 2015, which would include additional role play and plush items as well as "home décor, bath, textile, footwear," sporting goods, consumer electronics, and pool and summer toys (the last two to come in summer 2015). On June 25, 2014, DCP presented a "holiday fair" to journalists in New York City for the 2014 Christmas and holiday season, which included numerous Frozen-related items. MTV News warned parents to prepare to "'let it go,' and by 'it' we mean 'your money.'" In early August, Fortune reported that Frozen could hit $1 billion in merchandise sales alone (that is, excluding sales of the actual film itself) by the end of 2014, with about half of that amount coming from toys. Advertising Age reported at the start of September that the Frozen brand would be expanding soon to even more kinds of products, such as backpacks, fruit, juice, yogurt, bandages, and oral care.
In late September, film reviewer Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote about how Disney had sent him an early DVD copy of Frozen almost a year earlier for him to review, and as a result had cost him approximately $900 in merchandise. He explained, "Frozen has turned my sweet daughters into mad merch-munching dragons who get all the hungrier the more we feed them."
On October 9, 2014, Iger acknowledged at a conference on new media in San Francisco that demand for Frozen costumes "has been crazy since the movie came out, crazier than we ever anticipated, because, who knew?" He added that Disney was now "definitely prepared" to meet consumer demand. Around the same time, the National Retail Federation published a survey projecting that Frozen costumes would be the fourth most popular category of children's costumes for Halloween 2014, in that about 2.6 million American children were expected to dress up as Frozen characters. The Fresno Bee estimated that with all the accessories released for Halloween 2014, it would cost about $94 to fully costume a girl as Elsa.
At the start of November, it was reported that the shortage of Frozen merchandise was finally over, and Disney and its licensees had "adapted to a new reality where demand for Frozen merchandise seems unquenchable." Disney announced that it had sold over three million Frozen costumes in North America alone, of which Elsa was the no. 1 best-selling Disney costume of all time, followed by Anna at no. 2. Walmart was ready for the 2014 Christmas and holiday season with about 700 distinct Frozen-related items of merchandise in stock. The "Frozen juggernaut" was cited as a major reason for a significant decline during 2014 in sales figures for other toy brands, including Hello Kitty and Barbie. And in later 2014, a Lego set featuring Elsa, Anna, and Olaf was made, which turned into the similar issues as the other Frozen merchandise with it being hard to find.
In Japan, a wide range of merchandise targeted to all ages are available at major Japanese retail and online stores such as Rakuten, Belle Maison, Cozy Corner, a baked goods and confectionery store and Disney Store (Japan).
The meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa at Disneyland and Epcot had been initially sponsored by The Walt Disney Studios as short-term temporary attractions starting from November 2013 to promote the film, but in February 2014, Disney Parks decided to extend them indefinitely in response to unprecedented demand. By the beginning of March, wait time was reportedly as long as four or five hours to see Anna and Elsa, which fueled outside speculation about whether Disney Parks would respond with additional Frozen-specific attractions. After wait times at Norway Pavilion in Walt Disney World's Epcot reportedly reached six hours, in mid-April, the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greets were finally moved to Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom Park, where park guests could use the new FastPass+ reservation system (part of Disney's MyMagic+ project) to bypass the lengthy wait time. To date, Disney's Fastpass has not been made available for the Disneyland meet-and-greets, meaning that a journalist who tried standing in line on April 23, 2014 (a non-holiday midweek morning five months after the film's premiere) had to wait three hours. Jezebel.com commented on the phenomenon, "Word has it that those characters are like the Beatles now, attracting large crowds of screaming females." However, as of April 2014, there have not been any plans for Anna and Elsa to join the Disney Princess line-up, though Disney Store confirmed that it was still possible the characters would be added to that franchise in the future. With a Lego set featuring Elsa for a 2015 release in the Disney Princess line, this may mean they will be princesses in early 2015 at the latest. In September 2014, a FastPass system was added to the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet at Disneyland.
On July 5, 2014, Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World launched a "Frozen Summer Fun" program to run through September 1, which included a daily parade, sing-along show, dance party and fireworks show; an indoor ice skating rink and a merchandise shop; and Frozen décor throughout the theme park. In response to strong demand, Disney Parks subsequently announced on August 7 that Frozen Summer Fun would be extended to September 28.
On August 19, 2014, it was initially announced that Elsa & Anna's Boutique (replacing Studio Disney 365) would open mid-September in Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort. The opening date was later changed to October 6, 2014, and the store name was changed to "Anna & Elsa's Boutique". The location includes products inspired by Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Anna & Elsa's Boutique promptly drew a line of curious consumers on its first day of operation, although Disney management was reportedly attempting to gauge consumer response before considering similar stores at other Disney locations.
On September 12, 2014, Walt Disney World announced that a Frozen attraction is scheduled to open in early 2016 at Epcot's World Showcase in the Norway pavilion, replacing the park's Maelstrom ride. The attraction will feature the kingdom of Arendelle with music and scenes from the film, as well as meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa.
On May 27, 2016, Disney California Adventure opened Frozen: Live at the Hyperion at the Hyperion Theater. The show is a condensed retelling of the film, featuring puppetry, projections, giant sets and special effects. It replaced the former Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.
Sequel and short film
When asked about future sequels, Del Vecho explained in March that Buck, Lee and him "work very, very well together, so I believe we will be developing a new project. But I don't know what that is right now." In late April, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn said that "we haven't really talked about a sequel" because the studio's current priority is the planned Broadway musical, which will require "four or five" additional songs to be written by Lopez and Anderson-Lopez. When asked in May about a sequel, Iger said that Disney would not "mandate a sequel" or "force storytelling", because to do that would risk creating something not as good as the first film. In June, Lee confirmed that Lasseter had expressly given her and Buck the freedom to explore whatever they were "passionate about": "We don't know what it is yet ... We're actually going to start from scratch. It'll be something completely brand new."
On August 5, 2014, Variety reported that Lee had selected her next project: a screenplay adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel A Wrinkle in Time, for which Disney already holds the film adaptation rights. However, Lee will continue to participate in Disney Animation's development process (i.e., giving notes on other projects, the same process by which she became involved in Frozen in the first place).
On September 2, 2014, during the ABC airing of "The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic", Lasseter announced that a Frozen short film with a new song will be released in the future. On the same day, Variety announced that the short would be released in Spring 2015 under the title Frozen Fever, with Lee and Buck returning as directors, Del Vecho producing and a new song by Lopez and Anderson-Lopez. The summary of the short is as follows: "...it's Anna's birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but Elsa's icy powers may put more than just the party at risk." Olaf, the snowman, also will make an appearance in the toon. In a mid-October interview, Idina Menzel revealed that the cast had already recorded their vocal tracks: "We just worked on a short for Frozen."
On March 12, 2015, Bob Iger, John Lasseter, Josh Gad, and Jennifer Lee official announced there'll be a Frozen sequel. The release date has not been set, but everyone that had helmed the first film will return, including Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, and the Lopez.
The film will also play a factor in the fourth season of a television series produced by Disney-owned ABC Studios, Once Upon a Time. On May 11, 2014, the conclusion of the show's third season finale revealed a new storyline that will incorporate elements from Frozen, centering around the arrival of Elsa, the Snow Queen, after her urn was accidentally thrust into the time-traveling portal from the Enchanted Forest back to present-day Storybrooke. The show's executive producers later explained that Disney had not asked them to do a crossover. Rather, they fell in love with Frozen when it premiered in November, saw it three more times, then developed a story idea in February and successfully pitched it to ABC Studios, the ABC network, and then Disney brand management. The producers shared that "their writers' room was "basically a 'Frozen' appreciation room" and they would be "completely honored" if the original movie stars wanted to reprise their roles. Producer Adam Horowitz also said that the producers were not going to "redo" the film, stating that "We're very aware of what we think makes this character from 'Frozen' so special and we want to honor that and make sure that what we do is in the universe of [what] everyone fell in love with this past year."
On June 7, 2014, TVLine reported that Anna and Kristoff would also appear in the show alongside Elsa, casting had begun for all three characters, and that Elsa would appear in approximately nine episodes. By the first week of July, it had been confirmed that the show's producers had cast Georgina Haig as Elsa, Elizabeth Lail as Anna, and Scott Michael Foster as Kristoff. Later on July 22, TVLine announced the appearance of Hans in the third episode of this series' Season 4, and on July 28, actor Tyler Jacob Moore was announced to have been cast in this role. On the same day, John Rhys-Davies was cast as the voice of rock troll Pabbie. A first look at a Frozen scene from the show was screened at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International, which depicted a storyline taking place after the animated film's events.
On August 13, 2014, it was announced that a one-hour special titled "The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic" would air September 2, 2014, on ABC. It featured interviews with some of the cast and the creative team of the film, footage from Norway that inspired the look of Frozen, announcements of what is next for the film, and a preview of Anna, Elsa and Kristoff's appearance in Once Upon a Time. The special also included a sneak peek of Disney Animation's upcoming film Big Hero 6.
Publishing giant Random House initially released five Frozen-related titles for English-speaking markets in conjunction with the film's release. By June 29, 2014, all five ranked among the Nielsen Top 20 bestselling books of 2014 in the U.S. market. By August, those five titles had collectively spent 148 weeks on USA Today's list of the top 150 bestselling books in the United States, and Random House had sold over 8 million Frozen-related books. That month, Random House announced a new series of four books by Erica David to be released in 2015; its two first installments, Anna & Elsa #1: All Hail the Queen and Anna & Elsa #2: Memory and Magic, which extends the plot beyond the events shown in the film as the sisters get to know each other, will be released on January 6, 2015. They further plan to release three or four Frozen books a year in the future.
Ice skating show
On May 20, 2014, it was reported that Feld Entertainment's Disney on Ice was planning an ice skating show based on Frozen with assistance from the film's producers and directors, and that the show would start touring in September 2014 starting in Orlando, Florida with a cast of 39. The show's world premiere was presented on September 4, 2014 at Orlando's Amway Center.
By June 2014, the film's reliance on Norway for visual inspiration had resulted in a significant increase in tourism in that country, with a 37% increase in tourists from the United States in the first quarter of 2014 (in comparison to the previous year's first quarter). Tour operators (including Adventures by Disney) responded by adding more Norway tours.
Trailers and Clips
Behind the Scenes
- Frozen features several nods to Walt Disney Feature Animation's The Little Mermaid, sometimes for the purpose of altering its elements rather starkly:
- While The Little Mermaid begins with a view from the sky and later descends into the water, Frozen begins with a view from underwater and later ascends into the sky.
- Both films begin with a pinch of backstory/foreshadowing delivered by men at work. In The Little Mermaid, sailors sing of Triton and Ursula in "Fathoms Below". In Frozen, ice harvesters give more vague foreshadowing in "Frozen Heart", but this time Elsa is not the villain like Ursula was.
- While fantasizing about Prince Eric, Ariel speaks to and caresses the face of his statue. Anna does this also, yet in her case her affections are given to the handsome bust of an unknown dream prince...which ends up on top of a wedding-like cake.
- The appearance and mannerisms of the Duke of Weselton invite comparison to those of Grimsby from The Little Mermaid. However, only one of them can be trusted.
- Both Ariel and Anna fall in love at first sight (though Anna only thinks she does) with a handsome prince whom they have never met before. However, only Ariel can hope to gain with them a "happily ever after" with that specific prince.
- Both Ariel and Elsa are forced to keep deep secrets locked away even from their own siblings. Once these secrets are revealed, both are greeted with destructive rejection, run away from their homes, and do something reckless involving dangerous magic. In both cases, the character can at this point be redeemed only by love (as it turns out, the self-sacrifice of the family member from whom their secret was kept), yet in Elsa's case the magic comes from within.
- Both Ariel and Anna enjoy the companionship of a silly sidekick who has little understanding of the world. Scuttle is a natural creature, while Olaf is a magical one, but both give their heroine hope of survival in the eleventh hour.
- The musical number "Kiss the Girl" in The Little Mermaid is a little like "Fixer Upper" in Frozen in contextual terms. In both cases, the creatures that sing (in The Little Mermaid, native animals; in Frozen, the trolls) try to approximate the romantic pair (Ariel and Eric; Anna and Kristoff). At the end of the two numbers, the climate is cut off for some reason (Ariel and Eric fall off their boat; Anna relapses of freezing).
- Both Ariel and Anna have a deadline to break a spell through true love. While Ariel needs to get a true love kiss from Prince Eric to become human forever, Anna seeks Hans to cure the freezing of her heart accidentally caused by Elsa. In both cases, the spell has serious consequences, and is not broken in the way the heroines imagined.
- Frozen also features similarities with Walt Disney Feature Animation's The Lion King.
- Interestingly, both films are claimed as The Best Disney Animated Movie, instead The Lion King was first, and Frozen was the second. Also, they are the fifth films of their era (Disney Renaissance and Disney Revival).
- Both Elsa and Simba are the heir of their kingdom, after they're lost their parents (Elsa's parents because of an accident and Simba's father killed by his uncle Scar).
- Both characters also run away from their home after their families' tragic incidents, and after the characters leave, their kingdoms are distracted, because the kingdoms were ruled by villains (Hans and Scar).
- After running away, the characters also sing a song about letting go of past worries ("Hakuna Matata" and "Let It Go").
- Both have a close character that encourages them to return home (in The Lion King, Nala; in Frozen, Anna).
- Both characters finally return back to their kingdom and live happily ever after.
- Elsa and Anna's differing hair colors may be a nod to the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale "Snow-White and Rose-Red" (also about sisters). This also influences their personalities, as the tale of Grimm Rose-Red is described as an outgoing girl who loved to run through the fields and have fun, while Snow-White was more quiet, and rather stays at home helping her mother with household chores, just like Anna and Elsa respectively. Elsa also has the coincidence factor "Snow" with Snow-White.
- The film probably takes place in the hottest time of July, according to Oaken's comment "A real howler in July, yes?"
- Although some Disney Princess characters appear in films outside their franchise, such as in a non-related film (i.e., Belle's cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame) or as a storybook/painting (such as the reference to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in Beauty and the Beast as well as Aurora's painting in The Little Mermaid), Frozen is the first film within the Disney Princess franchise to have two separate representatives in the Disney Princess series directly appear alongside each other (Rapunzel appears as a cameo during Elsa's coronation in the beginning of the film, as one of the attendees).
- Frozen's love story is similar to that of Enchanted: The main heroine falls in love with the prince, and after a disaster, has to spend time with someone else, and finds out at the end that her true love is actually not the prince, but the person whom she spent more time with. Both heroines also have a duet with the prince, and want to marry as soon as possible.
- The names of four of the main characters were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's name; Hans, Kristoff, Anna and Sven.
- Hans from Hans, Kristoff from Christian, Anna from Anderson and Sven from Andersen. Anna, though, may have actually been a tribute to Hans' mother Anne, whose husband and Hans' father was also named Hans.
- The name Hans is also commonly used in Norway, Sweden and Denmark; these are the same places that Hans' home might be located in.
- Because of the possibility that Hans' home is inspired from Denmark, he will be the only main character in Frozen not to be of Norwegian descent.
- In some part of the film, Kristoff asks Anna what the name of Hans' best friend is, and Anna answers "Probably John." It turns out that Hans is nothing less than a Danish equivalent of the English name John.
- In the original fairy tale, The Snow Queen promised Kai a pair of skates if he solved a puzzle for her. As a reference to this, Elsa gives Anna a pair of skates at the end.
- Gloves are used as major symbolism throughout the movie, but most noticeably with the characters, Elsa and Hans; both characters wear gloves when attempting to conceal their true selves, and their true identities are revealed when the characters remove their gloves (and Hans goes back into hiding his true self when he puts his gloves back on).
- The only time Anna speaks with authority in a serious manner is when she says: "Bring me my horse, please" and "I leave Prince Hans in charge" and "We leave now. Right now."
- Curiously, at the time when Anna sends "Bring me my horse, please," the horse that is brought is identical to Sitron, the one that Hans was riding when he met Anna.
- The phrase "Hang in there" is used at multiple points in the movie. As seen in the trailer, it is used by Olaf as he is falling to his possible doom off of a cliff outside Elsa's ice castle, and it is also used inside Arendelle's castle, where it is offered as encouragement by 9-year old Anna to (a painting of) Joan of Arc. Kristoff says "Hang in there" to Anna while they're riding on Sven back to the castle. Elsa also offers similar encouragement to an imperiled Olaf.
- Frozen is the second film based on a fairy tale to not be named after the original title. Tangled was the first.
- Besides the fact that both take adjectives in their titles, the first posters of Tangled and Frozen are somewhat similar. In Tangled's poster, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider literally get tangled in the hair of the princess. In Frozen's poster, the characters are covered with snow. In both cases, we only see the visible faces of the main characters.
- The relationship of Olaf and Sven in the teaser trailer of Frozen is somewhat similar to the relationship of Maximus and Pascal in Tangled Ever After. In both cases, the characters do not express lines, and get themselves into more trouble.
- There were many changes in the script StitchKingdom gave on their website in October 2013 before the final one. One example is Kristoff's line, featured in the the first trailer: "You wanna talk about a problem? I sell ice for a living." In the film, he says: "You want to talk about a supply and demand problem? I sell ice for a living."
- The words "anymore" and "door" are used as a rhyme in five original songs in the chronologically order:
- In "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", 5-year old Anna sings: "I never see you anymore, come out the door, it's like you've gone away."
- In "For the First Time in Forever", Anna sings: "The window is open, so's that door. I didn't know they did that anymore."
- In "Love is an Open Door", Hans and Anna sing: "Say goodbye (say goodbye) to the pain of the past. We don't have to feel it anymore. Love is an open door."
- In "Let It Go", Elsa sings: "Let it go, let it go. Can't hold me back anymore. Let it go, let it go. Turn away and slam the door."
- In "For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)", Anna sings: "Please don't slam the door, you don't have to keep your distance anymore."
- In "For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)", Elsa's line "What do I not know?" sounds very much like the line Cinderella sings in Rodgers and Hammerstein's production: "I do not know that this is so." Santino Fontana, who voices Hans, also plays Prince Topher in the Broadway version..
- When Elsa is holding the scepter and orb, the bishop proclaims: "Sem hón heldr inum helgum eignum ok krýnd í þessum helga stað ek té fram fyrir yðr..." In English this means: "As she holds the holy properties, and is crowned in this holy place, I present to you... Queen Elsa of Arendelle".
- In the script, it reads: "Sehm hon HELL-drr IN-um HELL-gum AYG-num ok krund ee THES-um HELL- gah STAHTH, ehk teh frahm FUR-ear U- thear..."
- Frozen is the seventh animated film to reach $300 million, and the third original animated film to reach that milestone.
- Frozen is the first animated film from the Walt Disney Animation Studios canon to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
- Frozen became the second animated film to reach $1 billion at the worldwide box office, the first being Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3.
- To celebrate, the movie which came to Digital HD in February 25, 2014 and Blu-Ray Combo Pack on March 16, 2014, Walt Disney Animation Studios organize "Winter Sweepstakes" to win prizes of Frozen merchandise with upload the Winter-Themed photo into a Frozen frame, that can be joined here.
- During Olaf's song, his dance with four seagulls is a nod to Bert's dance with four penguins from Mary Poppins (1964).
- There is a plush Mickey Mouse on one of the shelves in Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna.
- When the King pulls the book off the shelf to figure out where to find the trolls, the book is written in Nordic runes, originating from Scandinavia where the film crew drew much inspiration. These runes were the basis for the dwarf-runes used in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. A map that falls out of the book resembles the map of the Lonely Mountain seen in The Hobbit.
- Over 24 minutes of the film is dedicated to musical sequences.
- Olaf's name is a clue to his character's purpose in providing comic relief. It can be interpreted to mean "oh laugh."
- There are three wood-carved bear figurines on Oaken's Table.
- Anna danced with Hans (in the musical sequence "Love is an Open Door") at 10:15 PM (22:15), according to the setting clock.
- Anna arrives at Oaken's trading post at 10:30 PM (22:30), according to the setting clock.
- Arendelle remained covered with snow for about three days (three nights and half a day), when analyzing the movie time.
- One of the paintings in the gallery is based on the painting "The Swing", by the French Rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard, which was used as inspiration for the visual style of Tangled.
- Each of the snowflakes of Frozen are different.
- Frozen was a sponsored party for Club Penguin on August 2014.
- This is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be scored by a completely different composer than Henry Jackman since 2010's Tangled (which was composed by Alan Menken), as it is instead scored by Christophe Beck.
- If Anna and/or Elsa become Disney Princesses, Frozen will be the first Disney Princess film to have an official theatrical sequel produced by main-house WDAS instead of DisneyToon Studios.
- Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film and the 7th highest-grossing film.
- Kristoff calls Anna out on marrying a man she just met that day and cites the "love experts," the trolls. But when they go to the trolls, they try to get Kristoff and Anna married, when they only met the previous night.
- A chess set is seen in the background when Hans is explaining his scheme to Anna and extinguishing the heat sources in the room, symbolizing his exploitation of her as a "pawn" in his plans. Afterwards, a white queen piece falls when wind bursts through the window during the blizzard, symbolizing Elsa with Hans attempting to murder her at that moment.
- It is mentioned in the 2015 film Daddy's Home.
- Frozen on Wikipedia
- Frozen Disney | Official Site
- Frozen at the Internet Movie Database
- Frozen User Reviews on Votable
- FROZEN on Stage
- Frozen on Rotten Tomatoes
- Disney Frozen's Official Facebook
- Disney Frozen's Official Google+
- Disney Frozen's on Pinterest
|Disney theatrical animated features|