Is Frozen the Only Modern Disney Movie that Matters?
I don’t know about you but where I live Frozen, almost 3 years after it came out, is still inescapable. If you go into any store, you’re bound to run into some Frozen merchandise. Not only that but there always seem to be families (and sometimes childless adults) that seem to have some sort of Frozen thing with them (like a backpack or something).
Yet you can’t really say the same thing about other modern Disney films like Tangled, Wreck-it Ralph, or Big Hero 6. Yet, it kinda makes sense because, while those movies were hits, they didn’t gross over a billion dollars.
But there’s also Zootopia, which made a billion dollars, and…it’s pretty much been treated the same way those three were. It has not had even close to the same marketing push that Frozen has, despite grossing only about a million less. You can still see Anna and Elsa everywhere but, even though it grossed a billion dollars, there are literally people who’ve never even heard of Zootopia. That would never happen with Frozen unless the person you were talking to came out of a coma they’d been in since, oh, 2012.
However, what I find odd is Disney used to pretty much push all of their popular animated flicks on us. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, a movie they didn’t even have faith in at first, were all marketed equally as aggressively as each other. In the 90’s, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing some sort of product for these movies or hearing a song from these movies. Yet now Disney, when it comes to its animated films, has pretty much focused all of its attention on Frozen and they are barely doing anything with their other animated films (maybe a spin-off show or a short here and there). Why do you think this is though?
Well, I think it has to do with Disney’s recent successes. Back in the 90’s, while they definitely had other ways of making money, their animated films were the most popular things they were doing, especially under their name.
In the 2010’s though? That’s not the case, as they not only have their animation division but they own Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and so many more companies! As a result of those companies successes’, especially Marvel’s, they don’t really need to rely on their animation division as much. That also being said, their animation division is still popular and still making them a lot of money, so their not really going to abandon it. Plus, they are Disney! They can’t abandon animation, it’s practically synonymous with them!
However, because they don’t really need to rely so much on their animation division as much as they used to, why not focus most of their attention, when promoting their recent animated Disney flicks, on the most successful Disney film of the era? And, to boot, why not focus it on probably the most typical Disney film of the 5? I mean, let’s be honest, Wreck-it Ralph and Big Hero 6 aren’t exactly what you think of when you think of a stereotypical Disney film. Frozen on the other hand? It’s about a princess, which makes it instantly marketable for Disney! Yes, Tangled was also about a princess but what makes it easier for them to choose Frozen is that Frozen made a billion dollars and Tangled did not.
That being said, while they obviously aren’t going to give the same attention to Wreck-it Ralph, Tangled, or Big Hero 6, why aren’t they giving the same amount of attention to Zootopia? I think the problem there is marketability. Yes, it made almost as much as Frozen did but, except for The Lion King, Disney’s princess films have always been more marketable than their talking animal films. You never see as many Baloo dolls at the Disney Store as you do Belle dolls, for instance.
Not only that, but when it comes to marketability, I think it’s fallen under the same problem Inside Out did with Pixar. Yes, both were popular but the other big movie for them that came out this decade, namely Finding Dory for Pixar, ended up being even bigger successes because both Zootopia and Inside Out really tried to talk about social issues, which probably made them somewhat less appealing, at least when it comes to making people want to buy their toys, while Frozen and Finding Dory were more just trying to be fun movies. Sure, there were a couple pro-feminist or pro-disability messages in those movies but they definitely weren’t so much at the forefront as the anti-racism and “how psychology affects people” messages in Zootopia and Inside Out were.
As a result, people, or at least children, probably were more likely to buy stuff from Frozen and Dory because they were, moreso, just fun movies rather than message movies like Zootopia and Inside Out were. It also probably helped that, unlike Zootopia and Inside Out, they pretty much had been part of a brand that was already very popular, as Frozen was part of the Disney Princess Brand and Finding Dory was a sequel to Finding Nemo.
Back to the main question, however, is Frozen the only modern animated Disney film that Disney cares about? And the answer to that is pretty much. While they certainly do other things with their other animated films, in fact Tangled is getting a TV show, they certainly haven’t marketed their other animated films quite as aggressively as they have with Frozen. And that’s because they don’t really need to anymore, seeing as they own so many successful properties that they can focus on those properties as well and not rely so much on promoting their animated films. As a result, anything not named Frozen is kinda left in the dust, no matter how successful it is.