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You have to admit that Disney "Frozen" has already
had a pretty spectacular run at the box office. Over the past five weeks, this
Walt Disney Animation Studios production has earned an estimated $248.4 million
domestically. And then when you favor in the $250 million worth of tickets that
foreign film-goers have purchased for "Frozen" to date, that's a half
billion dollars right there.
And given that this Chris Buck / Jennifer Lee movie is
expected to maintain its box office momentum as Disney "Frozen" heads
into awards season, it's even been suggested that this Walt Disney Pictures
release might even eventually outgross "The Lion King." Which back in
1994 made $311.5 million during its domestic release.
Now don't get me wrong. I'd love to see "Frozen"
continue its record-breaking run at the box office. Not to mention winning all
sorts of awards when the Annies, the Golden Globes and the Oscars roll around
in 2014. But as for this WDAS production actually being able to best "The
Lion King" when it comes to ticket sales, there's not an Olaf's chance in
Hell of that ever happening.
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Never mind the fact that -- were you to adjust "The
Lion King" 's 1994 box office take for inflation -- in order for
"Frozen" to do better domestically than this Academy Award-winner did
-- this modern-era (some might even go
so far as to say "film from the Third Golden Age of Disney Feature Animation")
WDAS production would have to sell $489.1 million worth of tickets in North
America. But to be honest here, that's just chump change compared to the
billions that the stage musical version of "The Lion King" has made
off of the Broadway production & its various touring companies.
How many billions are we talking here? Would you believe $5
billion-plus? In the 17 years since "The Lion King" first opened
at New Amsterdam Theatre back on
November 13, 1997, this Disney
Theatrical Production has gone on to become the highest-grossing Broadway show
in New York history as well as one of the most popular stage musicals in the
world. To date, 21 global productions
have been seen by more than 70 million people.
And you know what's truly bizarre? Even this late into its
Broadway run, "The Lion King" continues to break records. Just this
past week, this stage musical managed to break the house record for the
Minskoff Theatre with a gross of $2,837,158.00 on nine performances.
Then when you factor in that "The Lion King" was
the highest grossing show on all of Broadway this past year (And this stat
becomes all the more impressive when you learn that there are 5 other shows
currently being presented in NYC theatres which have more seats / greater
capacity than the Minskoff. And yet "The Lion King" still managed to
reign supreme at the Broadway box office this year) ... That's just kind of
stunning. Especially when you consider that -- back in late November of 2013 --
"The Lion King" became the fourth longest-running show in Broadway
history. Surpassing the 6,680 performances that the original Broadway
production of "Les Misérables" presented.
For a show at this stage in its life to still be racking in that
sort of dough (Which is how -- earlier
this month -- "The Lion King" became the first show in Broadway
history to pass to $1 billion in cumulative gross. Which is all the more
impressive, given that -- back in July of this year -- this Disney Theatrical
Production became the first to earn over a billion off of the combined grosses
of its North American touring companies alone) is hard for even the most hardened
show business veterans to wrap their heads around. And yet the "The Lion
King" juggernaut continues on. It's only the second stage show in show
business history to generate five worldwide productions which have been
presented for 10 years or more. More to the point, "The Lion King"
has now been presented on every continent except Antarctica.
Mind you, given that people are already talking about Disney
Theatrical possibly mounting a stage version of "Frozen" (And let's
face it: a stage musical version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow
Queen" would be a natural when it came to making a tour stop in
Antarctica), I guess it is possible that this new Walt Disney Animation Studios
production could eventually come to surpass the earnings potential of "The
Lion King." But to be blunt here, it would be decades before we'd actually
know which Disney Company-owned intellectual property would eventually come out
on top in a contest like that.
More to the point, given that Disney Theatrical already has
its hands full, what with the new musical comedy version of Disney's
"Aladdin" opening at the New Amsterdam in March, the stage version of
"Shakespeare in Love" previewing at London's Noel Coward Theatre in
July, the North American tour of Disney's "Newsies" in October plus
that stage version of "The Princess Bride" which Disney Theatrical
now has in development ... I would imagine that -- even if there were any
discussions going on at this point about a possible stage version of
"Frozen" -- we'd at least be five years out from even the notion of
that show becoming a reality.
Meanwhile, the public's appetite in "The Lion
King" and its characters remains unquenched. Which is why -- when the
Imagineers realized that they'd need to flatten Camp
MinnieMickey in order to make
enough room for James Cameron's Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal
Kingdom -- they then immediately made plans to relocate that theme park's
"Festival of the Lion King" stage show. Which -- even 15+ years after
DAK first opened to the public -- remains one of the top three attractions at
this WDW theme park.
FYI: The "Festival of the Lion King" will present
its final show in its original DAK theater this Sunday afternoon. And though it
won't be 'til late Spring that "FOTLK" presents its first performance
in its new theater (Which -- as we speak -- is being constructed in the
western-most corner of Harambe
Village. You can actually see this
theatre's construction site as you cross the bridge heading into this theme
park's Africa section. Once work is complete, you'll be
able to gain access to this brand-new DAK facility by following a brand-new
pathway. Which will take Guests right past the Tusker House restaurant), Disney
World is already making plans to hold some casting sessions for this DAK show
next month. They'll be looking for new vocalists next Monday at the 14th
Street Playhouse in Atlanta,
GA and on January 13t at 519 Pearl Studios
in NYC. Then on January 29th, Disney will be holding auditions for new male
& female dancers for WDW's "Festival of the Lion King" stage show
at Disney's Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Facility. For further information of this
trio of casting sessions, please check out the Disney Auditions website.
Of course, if you'd like to see a considerably less
professional production of Disney's "The Lion King" which still
manages to prove the unending popularity of this particular IP, may I suggest
that you check out this video ...
... which -- last time I checked -- had nearly 300,000 views
Happy New Year, Jim and all of your cohorts at JHM, Ask Jim Hill, and the Disney Dish. Have a good one!
As much as I loved Frozen, I feel it was an overrated film where its failures in storytelling was masked in (mostly) great songs. So, in comparison to Tangled which was a much deeper story with infinitely more complex characters and logical motivations, I have no problem with Frozen making its money and then not getting exploited and shoehorned into everything Disney.
Since nobody asked, my biggest issue with Frozen was that every single character motivation seemed to be built as footing for a song.
- Do You Want to Build a Snowman -
Why did the parents encourage isolating the girls when clearly the incident was an accident? So they could try to pull off an "Up" style tearjerker montage
- For the First Time in Forever -
Why was Anna imprisoned in a castle for a decade when she wasn't in any danger and posed zero threat to society? Mother Gothel took Rapunzel off to the forest in a tower for selfish reasons. It was pure evil but it made sense. But what about Anna? What reason could there possibly be for her parents to hide her from the world except so she can break out and sing a fun song about her childhood being stolen from her.
- Love is an Open Door -
Why was Anna portrayed so naive? So they could sing an "adorkable" duet and sell us on her cute pairing with the very likable Prince Hans.
- Let it Go -
Why wasn’t Elsa ever allowed to use her powers? Why didnt her parents ever take her to a mountain to safely see what she could do? The joy of watching her "let it go" for the first time is an emotional uplifting, but it's also equally frustrating to think that her entire life her parents taught that despicable lesson of "Conceal, Dont Feel" as if the beautiful gift she was born with made her a monster. Again, her parents are just pure evil.
- In Summer -
Why did we care what a snowman thinks? Because he actually turned out to be a fun character. BUT, considering this was a film about sisters who were failing to show any depth or dimension. (The deleted songs off the soundtrack show that there were many more scenes between the sisters that were cut in favor of songs that added nothing to the story).
- Fixer Upper -
Why was Kristoff suddenly written to be raised by trolls when he started off the film as part of an Ice Harvester tribe and his first encounter with Trolls was when he saw the King's horseman pass? So they could sing some muppet-esque showtune and his "family" could marry him to the fatally wounded Anna. Wait... what?!? Hans spent the entire sleigh ride berating Anna about marrying a guy she just met but then his "family" tries to force marriage on them after they also just met? Oh. And Anna was dying throughout this entire sequence.
Again, I loved the movie but that doesnt mean it worked as a story. This was supposed to be the tragic story of two sisters torn apart but if you take out the music and just listen to the words then these characters and plot just fall flat because without the fantastic songs then you are left with only two evil and selfish parents forcing their semi-friendly sisters apart out of pure laziness. A good musical should still work even without the music.
Uh, I don't think you can factor in Broadway earnings into your comparison. Let's just talk movie to movie here.
Urkel - you point out the problems that the source material has for "The Snow Queen". The gaps in the story come from what is some nastiness and unpleasantness in the Anderson fairy tale. Disney had to make the story palatable to parents and their children, so Frozen is how they got there. But trolls, deceit, loss, and even a reindeer are all part of the original fairy tale.