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 Bobby 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 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 currently the fourth highest grossing Disney film, behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Black Panther, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 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").
The film begins with a crew of ice harvesters collecting ice from a frozen lake in the Scandinavian mountains ("Frozen Heart"). Among them is an 8-year old orphan boy named Kristoff, 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 delightedly 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 Iduna hastily load their daughters onto their horses and ride at full speed into the mountains.
As the royal family gallop their horses 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 Elsa left behind by one of the horses, and 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 royal family 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 whether Elsa was born or cursed with her abilities. After being told she was born with it, Pabbie examines Anna and remarks that it is fortunate 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 she is unable to rouse Elsa from her room. Their despair only escalates ten years after the accident, when their parents depart on a diplomatic mission for two weeks, Agnarr and Iduna 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 naivety 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.
- Kristen Bell as Anna
- Livvy Stubenrauch as 5-year old Anna (speaking)
- Katie Lopez as 5-year old Anna (singing)
- Agatha Lee Monn as 9-year old Anna (singing)
- Idina Menzel as Elsa
- Eva Bella as 8-year old Elsa
- Spencer Lacey Ganus as 12-year old Elsa
- Jonathan Groff as Kristoff
- Tyree Brown as young Kristoff
- Josh Gad as Olaf
- Santino Fontana as Hans
- Ciarán Hinds as Grand Pabbie
- Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton
- Chris Williams as Oaken
- Maia Wilson as Bulda
- Paul Briggs as Marshmallow
- Maurice LaMarche as King Agnarr
- Jennifer Lee as Queen Iduna
- Jack Whitehall as Gothi
- Stephen J. Anderson as Kai
- Edie McClurg as Gerda
- Annie Lopez as Baby Troll
- Robert Pine as Bishop of Arendelle
- Jesse Corti as Spanish Dignitary
- Jeffrey Marcus as German Dignitary
- Tucker Gilmore as Irish Dignitary
- Lewis Cleale as Cliff
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 naïve 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."
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.
- Main article: Frozen (video)
Frozen was released for digital download on February 25, 2014, on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon. It was also released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on March 18, 2014.
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 90% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 228 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.
- Main article: Frozen 2
On April 25, 2017, the official release date for the Frozen sequel was announced by Disney. On September 28, Josh Gad and Disney announced on social media that recording for the film had officially begun.
Trailers and Clips
- The film takes place in July, according to Oaken's comment "A real howler in July, yes?"
- Based on Olaf's Frozen Adventure, the film takes place in 1843. (A Jewish family is seen lighting eight candles on the menorah; the first day of Christmas and the last day of Hanukkah coincided that year).
- 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.
- 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."
- Frozen is the second film based on a fairy tale to not be named after the original title. Tangled was the first.
- There were many changes in the script Stitch Kingdom gave on their website in October 2013 before the final one. One example is Kristoff's line, featured in 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 the reprise of "For the First Time in Forever", Anna sings: "Please don't slam the door, you don't have to keep your distance anymore."
- 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.
- With nearly $1.3 billion in its revenue, Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film to date.
- 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.
- 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 based on the European Time Zone.
- 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.
- 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.
- Frozen is the first Disney animated feature to have a soundtrack released on vinyl since Oliver & Company.
- Frozen User Reviews on Votable
- FROZEN on Stage
- Frozen on Rotten Tomatoes
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