‘Frozen’ Has Been Taken Down

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Elsa (Idina Menzel) in 'Frozen'

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company is continuing to lose its hold on animated movies. What was once its stronghold, has seen recent competitor hits chip away at its walls — is it a sign of worse things to come for Disney animation?

Elsa performing "Let It Go" in 'Frozen'
Credit: Disney

Under the returning leadership of Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, who replaced the previous divisive head of the House of Mouse Bob Chapek (and Iger’s successor), Disney is currently on a course correction.

Following his dramatic return last November, Iger has been aggressive in his tactics to steer Disney into the more comfortable realms of profitability. With turbulent stocks and fan reception to recent projects both Disney-owned such as animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and its subsidiaries like Marvel Studios, Iger is seemingly leaving no stone unturned.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney logo
Credit: Disney

Disney+, a crown jewel in terms of content offering, has been struck with large-scale content removals that will see Disney lose $1.5 billion over the next few quarters. This move came as Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy revealed the company projected the Disney streaming service to reach profitability by the end of fiscal 2024. Titles such as Lucasfilm’s Willow, and original projects like Better Nate Than Never (2022) have been removed amid the cuts.

Then in the movie space, Disney has had a bad time of it recently. 2022 proved Disney — and Pixar — animation was not going to keep fans engaged through name alone. Disney and Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story franchise spinoff Lightyear (2022) garnered a disappointing critical and commercial response, while Disney’s Strange World (2022) posted one of the poorest box office performances in its history, netting only $73 million globally.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) in 'Lightyear'
Credit: Disney/Pixar

Related: Robin Williams Refused To Work With Disney After ‘Aladdin’ Feud

Of course, there were other factors involved here. From both movies — Strange World more so — featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters to the potential mismarketing theories that surfaced about Strange World, the studio’s animation efforts were marred by controversy last year. But the downward spiral continued with old faithful Marvel Studios delivering its worst performance in 15 years with Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

So as Disney moves through its 100th year, can the once untouchable studio be brought back to life? Maybe.

Walt Disney Studios - Dinsey100 Logo
Credit: Disney

Pixar’s next movie, Elemental (2023), arrives in just a couple of weeks, but early reception has been lukewarm, with a projected opening of $40 million. It goes against Warner Bros. Discovery and DC Studios’ The Flash (2023). And then later in the year, Disney’s true centennial celebration epic will arrive in the form of Wish (2023) starring Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose (West Side Story). And fan response has, so far, been strong.

That said, Disney continues to lose its grip on being the behemoth of the animation universe. For now, let’s set aside Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023), which just posted the biggest opening weekend year to date (yes, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)), and talk about how Universal Pictures’ The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) has just stomped on the Arendellian sisters to become the third highest grossing movie of all time, Variety reports.

Anna (left) and Elsa (right) in 'Frozen II'
Credit: DIsney

Currently held by Disney’s The Lion King (2019) at $1.6 billion, the highest-grossing animated movie list, has for many years now largely been held by The Walt Disney Company, aside from some entries in the Despicable Me franchise.

But The Super Mario Bros. Movie has blasted into the top three with a huge worldwide taking of $1.296 billion, usurping Disney’s smash hit Frozen (2013) from the third place — Frozen has takings of $1.290 billion at the box office. Just ahead, though, is Disney’s biggest animated sequel and non-live-action epic, Frozen II (2019).

Princess Peach, Mario, and Toad in 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie'
Credit: Nintendo/ Illumination

The tale of sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), as well as a humanoid snowman called Olaf (Josh Gad), captured hearts all over the world a decade ago, and the film went on to win the award for Best Animated Feature. Helped by its killer songs from Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, which, of course, includes “Let It Go”, Frozen skyrocketed into the $1 billion club and became one of the most cherished animated movies of all time.

Frozen‘s replacement in the top three of the highest-grossing list, a list where Disney has not breached the top 10 since 2019 despite having multiple movies released post-pandemic, will surely be a big blow for the House of Mouse. And with Across the Spider-Verse‘s massive opening weekend, bigger in fact than Mario, Disney may want to look over its shoulder as other studios dominate the animated film space.

Miles Morales running in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: Here Are All of Disney’s Upcoming Live-Action Remakes

Iger seemed to already know what audiences want when he returned to The Walt Disney Company. On his first corporate call, Iger announced that a new sequel to the Frozen movies was coming, as well as a Zootopia (2016) sequel, and a new entry into the Toy Story franchise. All projects to hit $1 billion+ at the global box office. Interesting indeed.

Are you sad to see Frozen lose its third-place ranking? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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