In the final box office weekend of 2013, we found that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is #1 for the third consecutive week followed by Frozen at #2 both taking in about $29.8 Million and $28.8 Million respectively. But what I find to be truly stunning to see is that Frozen was in its sixth weekend in its domestic release. That’s right, usually for films, it is difficult to keep such a hold consistently every week – even for the more popular blockbusters which soon find themselves earning much of their gross in front-loaded terms only to find themselves in at least a 50% decrease the following weekend.
According to Box Office Mojo, the Disney film has remained consistent within its weekend grosses. Although the film in its first weekend earned $243,390, that was in the Disney-owned El Capitan theatre in Hollywood alone. Soon, Thanksgiving weekend came along and during the 5-day period, the film had earned about $93.9 Million and ranking at #2 behind Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The next three weekends follow along, and while Frozen had a decrease of about 53% after Thanksgiving weekend, the film remained consistently leveled during the next two weekends. And now, in a mind-boggling turn of events following new releases during the week of Christmas like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Frozen managed to accomplish the following weekend not only earning #2 after the current reigning Hobbit, but in fact gaining an increase of nearly 47% from the previous weekend. From where it stands domestically as of December 30, 2013, it has earned roughly $248,366,000.
I think it’s safe to say that the film has been remaining so successful financially mainly due to the enthusiastic response from both critics and audiences alike earning an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ on Cinemascore. Not to mention that it is widely viewed to be the frontrunner for Best Animated Feature. But why is everyone responding to the film oh-so highly?
Before I delve into what I believe for that case, I would like to say that Frozen is indeed a magnificent film and another home run from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. The voice acting was superb, the animation was top-notch, and the music is truly sublime. And yes, while those do play factors to the film’s attainment of critical and commercial acclaim, I feel that there is more to be explored within those realms.
Was it the marketing? Somewhat. It did follow the footsteps of Tangled by not being titled with a princess’ name and emphasizing more on the non-princess characters to appeal more to boys. Marketing does play a huge role in many animated films’ success. Because really, if it weren’t for those yellow minions running everywhere, Despicable Me wouldn’t even be as successful financially. Also, it can be discussed that because of the time of year the film was released as well as the Winter setting, it brought more audiences to fill up the seats because they were ready for the excitement they crave for during the Holiday season.
But above all, while the marketing did play a role into the film’s success, I feel that Frozen has amassed its appeal because it truly is Disney’s return to its Renaissance era. Audiences were given a timeless fairy tale that was endearing in all aspects within characters, animation, and music. A film that simultaneously took advantage of the old Disney tropes that we have become accustomed to, but were utilized in such a creative exercise that manages to both pay tribute to the Renaissance era, but also bring something truly refreshing. All of this balances out into a work of art that may be the final step into the beginning of a new era for the studio. If Snow White and the Seven Dwarves represented the beginning of the Middle Ages of Disney and The Little Mermaid that began the Renaissance, it is the journey that slowly started from The Princess and the Frog all the way to Frozen that finally begins the studio’s Reformation.