It seems as though one of Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) new animation films is frozen at the top. After debuting on November 27 and leading the box office in the first two weeks of its release, “Frozen“ is back to enjoy the top spot in ticket sales in its seventh weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
According to Bloomberg, “Frozen” generated $20.7 million for the weekend, surpassing “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which had held the lead for three weeks, along with “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” the horror sequel from Viacom’s (NYSE:VIA) Paramount Pictures. “Frozen” has now grossed $297.8 million in domestic theaters. It is only the seventh movie in 30 years to finish or return to the top position in ticket sales in its seventh week of release.
Disney is welcoming “Frozen’s” popularity with open arms, as the studio has been working to resurrect success after the golden age of its animation films like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Animation films are surely not falling by the wayside, but other studios like Universal Pictures are also now rolling out their own family friendly flicks — Disney needs to prove its ability to keep up. The only animation film that has taken in more money domestically in 2013 than “Frozen” is Universal Pictures’s “Despicable Me 2,” released July 3.
The Christian Science Monitor highlighted a few qualities of “Frozen” that allowed it to enjoy such widespread success. The first characteristic the reporter points to is its terrible marketing. Bad marketing usually leads to a film’s downfall, but in the case of “Frozen,” it actually saved the movie by setting low expectations. The Monitor says that Disney was worried boys wouldn’t want to see another princess movie, so marketers deliberately highlighted the film’s humor and wacky characters while leaving the part about the two princess-sisters out.
The movie also managed to blow past people’s expectations. This led to better word-of-mouth marketing, as moviegoers were pleasantly surprised by what they saw and wanted to share the experience with others. As Scott Mendelson of Forbes explains: “That’s the key of the ‘false sell’ or the ‘under sell.’ You build word-of-mouth by allowing the audience to ‘discover’ the film’s quality for themselves.”
Another thing “Frozen” had going for it, per the Monitor, was the release’s good timing. Parents are more likely to take their kids to the movies during the holiday season, and “Frozen” was bound to benefit. Disney’s film was the only family friendly flick released during that period, so if parents were going to the movies with their children, they probably went to see “Frozen.”
Similar to other Disney animation films, “Frozen” has its music to thank for its continued popularity, along with its impressive cast of characters. The Christian Science Monitor points out that “Frozen” is definitely a musical, and many of its songs were moving, leading to tears from both kids and adults alike. Additionally, those who voiced characters in the film not only have good voices — they have great voices. The voice of Elsa, Idina Menzel, won a Tony as the original Elphaba in “Wicked,” and the film’s composers, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, wrote the music for the Tony award-winning “Book of Mormon.”
“Frozen” now has a soundtrack with a No. 4 ranking on Billboard, the highest rank for a Disney animated film since “Pocahontas” in 1995. As the Monitor reports, music is the engine of “Frozen,” and this train is definitely the little engine that could.