Twelve months ago today, a phenomenon began that will have a heavy impact on holiday sales for girls – the animated Disney movie Frozen was released in theaters throughout the U.S. After one year, the Frozen juggernaut continues unabated and is expected to dominate holiday sales again this year. Elsa has been Queen onscreen, in the box office, on clothing and in toy town for a solid year and her reign continues.
For those who have not watched Frozen and had Let It Go belted out repeatedly in their vicinity, the plot is based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. The plot features the optimistic Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) sets off in search of her sister Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), whose icy powers trapped their kingdom Arendelle in everlasting winter. Anna travels with a rugged mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer pal Sven and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (John Gad) to save their kingdom.
The movie was a massive worldwide hit. It had a limited opening after its Hollywood premiere on Nov. 20, 2013, but expanded to nationwide and in Canada on Nov. 27, 2013. The animated film’s budget was an estimated $150 million, but the film wound up grossing almost $401 million in the U.S. alone. By April of this year, Frozen had become the highest grossing animated film or musical of all time. The film was in the top 10 in domestic box office results for 16 consecutive weeks, a feat that had not been done since 2002. Its staying power was so strong that Frozen was the fifth highest grossing film of 2014. Worldwide box office was reportedly $1.27 billion. The DVD has done well too and was joined last week by a sing-along version.
On the merchandise front, the film has also steamrolled over its competition and is widely expected to this holiday season. Elsa (and Anna) have joined the echelon of Disney princesses and their highly successful marketing. So far this year, 3 milion costumes and dress-up outfits from the film were sold, raking in an estimated $150 million.
Frozen dolls are projected to outsell Barbie this December. Stuffed Olafs, Frozen art sets, attire featuring characters, dress up attire and more are also anticipated to sell well. In fact, retailers estimate that 20 percent of parents with young girls plan to buy Frozen merchandise for the holidays. Even canines can get Frozen gifts this year with Sven and Olaf dog toys and they do not choose to watch the film over and over again.
After one year, the Frozen-merchandising juggernaut continues unabated and is expanding into other types of products. Disney has also announced plans to introduce Frozen food items and other products that have gotten the Princess treatment, like toothpaste, to meet the continued demand for items with the movie’s characters. The overwhelming demand one year out continues to catch Disney, known for their merchandising capabilities, by surprise. However, they will catch up with branded yogurt, juice, bandages and more – even fruit. (While not announced, it seems a natural to have Frozen freezer food items, dinners, popsicles, ice cream products, etc.)
By Dyanne Weiss