The film production company
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world“ (About the Walt Disney Company, 2016, para. 1).
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The Walt Disney Animation Studios is a division of The Walt Disney Studios, owned by The Walt Disney Company. It was founded in 1923 in California and has from that time has been a leader in animated picture production. The animated characters created by the company are recognized all over the world.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Walt Disney Animation Studios experienced an idea crisis. The so-called Renaissance Era (Graydanus, 2013) of Disney ended in the ‘90s and the company’s focus on princess movies was not getting viewers’ interest anymore. In 2013, the situation changed. Walt Disney Animation Studios released the Frozen movie, which became one of its greatest success stories. Instead of going away from the princess theme, the company focused on changing the main character, and this appeared to be exactly what the customer wanted.
The Demand for a New Role Model
Nowadays, Western women are much different from those of previous generations. They are ambitious about career, more socially and financially independent, and have abilities to stand for themselves. Their families value the equality, and little girls are taught that they are capable of making dreams come true on their own. No wonder Frozen has received so many positive reviews. This story of two sister princesses promotes the idea that men are not a key feature for success. What is more interesting about this movie is that it is just as popular among boys. The research defines four main reasons for it, which are “focused advertising, exciting action scenes, appealing humor, and a higher ratio of male-to-female characters” (Butler, 2016, p. 231). It appears as if the company had made an excellent study of its target customer group.
Music and Animation
One of the most critical success factors of Frozen lies in its music. Let it go, which is considered the main movie theme, has been repeated by children over and over again, up to the point of parents complaining about it. The song has won the Academy Award, and it has been palyed over the radio for a long time, familiarizing people with the movie. This music is the film’s most outstanding feature. Another success factor of Frozen has its reason in animation technique. The older princess movies, which are a part of the Disney Golden Collection, are made using drawings, while Frozen is a computer animated film (Keegan, 2013). Walt Disney Animation Studios had used the experience of other companies, which used animation in cartoons popular among the children of the new generation.
Humor over Beauty
The most popular films of the past years show a growing tendency of using funny lines and situations in the story. This might be explained by the fact that most viewers come to the cinema to have a good time and relax instead of observing a highly artistic picture. Comedies usually have high ratings even if the storyline is not so exciting. In the case with Frozen, it cannot be said that the movie lacks aesthetical side. However, the main characters are not perfect. They get into humorous situations and are more realistic than princesses from the older cartoons (Grant, 1998). This makes it easier for children, and sometimes adults, to relate to those characters, which serves the movie popularity among the young audience.
Frozen has become the greatest profit maker for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is named the highest grossing animated film of all times, with a box office revenue of $1.3 billion worldwide. As The Telegraph states, Frozen is “an eye-watering commercial success” (Everett, 2014, p.1). Besides, these numbers do not include revenues from merchandize sales.
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Moreover, the company has received many positive reviews from critics and journalists for making a first pro-feminist princess cartoon (Law, 2014). Of course, this positive feedback also served the rise of the company’s popularity (Sandlin & Garlen, 2016). While other animation companies mostly keep up with the traditional women’s roles, Walt Disney Animation Studio has managed to answer society’s demand for strong female characters.
It cannot be said that Walt Disney Animation Studios kept its audience solely by releasing Frozen. For instance, its previous movie Tangled is also a commercial success. However, according to critics, Frozen is a type of film that has that genuine company story spirit with a modern twist to it. Two Academy Awards, two Grammies, a Bafta, and a Golden Globe are the evidence of Disney returning and winning back its positions in the animation field.
About the Walt Disney Company. (2016). Web.
Butler, P. (2016). Why do boys love Frozen, a Disney princess movie? Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2(19). Web.
Everett, L. (2014). Frozen: inside Disney’s billion-dollar social media hit. The Telegraph. Web.
Grant, J. (1998). Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s animated characters. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.
Graydanus, S. (2013). Quo Vadis Disney? Notes on the end of the Disney Renaissance, Circa 2001. Decent Films Guide.
Keegan, R. (2013). Disney is reanimated with films such as ‘Big Hero 6,’ ‘Frozen’. Los Angeles Times. Web.
Law, M. (2014). Sisters doin’it for themselves: Frozen and the evolution of the Disney heroine. Screen Education, 74, 16-25. Web.
Sandlin, J. A., & Garlen, J. C. (2016). Disney, culture, and curriculum. New York, NY: Routledge.