Interview: Disney Talks Frozen’s 10-Year Celebrations
VP of Brand Commercialisation & Retail, Nigel Cook caught up with Total Licensing’s Editorial Director Becky Ash to look at all the very Frozen ways that Disney will be marking the occasion.
I can’t believe Frozen is 10! Can you outline how Disney will be celebrating?
Frozen’s 10th anniversary is a fantastic milestone. The franchise is a pop culture phenomenon and it is truly remarkable to witness the profound impact that Elsa, Anna, Olaf and the rest of the beloved characters have had on audiences globally, from toys to fancy dress to the 3.2 billion views of the “Let It Go” singalong on YouTube.
In October, we launched a series of ‘Frozen’ celebrations including the ‘freezing’ of a London taxi and phone box, exclusive fan screenings of the musical and a cinema rerelease. The ‘Disney Frozen Podcast: Forces of Nature’ also launched this month, which brings fans extended storytelling through an audio-first offering with new characters and an original standalone adventure, set after the events of Frozen 2.
For those celebrating by recreating their love for Frozen at home, we’ve released new ranges – dolls with Mattel, beauty products at M&S, home products at Dunelm, kids clothes at H&M, and playsets and plush at Hamleys.
And how will this line up with Disney’s 100th celebrations?
Disney100 is a celebration of creativity and storytelling, so it is timely that the anniversaries coincide. Frozen was a global box office hit when released, with an incredible soundtrack and a relatable story of sisterhood. This anniversary is an opportunity to recognise that and embrace the continued fandom. Anna and Elsa played a starring role in our short film ‘Once Upon a Studio’ released to celebrate Disney100 – audiences can see it on Disney+.
How popular is Frozen still, today?
10 years on, Frozen still has an undeniably huge impact on today’s culture and society. We’ve seen a rise in popularity in the name Elsa, a tourism boom in Norway, and 2.6 billion sign-along videos of “Let it Go” on YouTube.
Frozen, Princess and soon Wish are key drivers of our girls skewing franchise offering for Core Kids.
Research carried out by Disney this year found that the theme of sisterhood was a key factor in the film’s success, resonating with one in two children. Because of that, I think it’s fair to say Elsa and Anna are two of the most popular Disney characters from the 21st Century.
As testament to this enduring popularity, our CEO Bob Iger recently announced that both Frozen 3 and in Frozen 4 theatrical films are in development.
Tell us about the global phenomenon around the franchise.
The release of the film in 2013 triggered a global sensation, with its themes of self-discovery and empowerment swiftly resonating with audiences worldwide. The phenomenon led to the creation of a variety of official merchandise including dolls, jigsaws, books and dress-ups, which to this day are still hugely popular.
Frozen merchandise has continued to perform strongly in EMEA and North America regions, with an average of 40 Frozen dolls sold every minute from 2020 to 2022. Our research this year found that Elsa was still the dominant most-liked character among Early Girls in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Beyond traditional play formats, we’ve also seen demand in digital and technological spaces such as video games, podcasts, and VR experiences.
Frozen the musical has also thrilled audiences around the world including productions in London, Hamburg and on Broadway.
What values from the movies resonate particularly well?
Frozen is an epic and empowering adventure about the bond of sisterhood, letting go of others’ expectations and never giving up. In a recent study we commissioned, conducted by Dr Sarah Godfrey of the University of East Anglia, it was noted that the film marked a significant moment for many young girls, as it was the first time they witnessed a depiction of sisterly love taking precedence over romantic love. Olaf was also a standout character in the film, embodying values of friendship, connection, and positivity.
In our own research, we found out from parents that the values and themes from the movie have had a lasting impact – with the top ones being kindness, courageousness, acceptance, and teamwork. Heart-warmingly, 71 per cent of parents said the timeless story of love, bravery and perseverance sparked their children’s imaginations and encouraged role-playing and recreation of their favourite scenes.
Our aim is to provide the tools for kids and families to recreate these moments, bringing the values and lessons from the film into the real world through play.