Friday, March 18, 2016
Oncoming Snowfall: Is 'Frozen 2' Closer to Production?
Do we now have an idea of how far along Frozen 2 is?
Frozen 2 was an inevitability the minute the first film outgrossed Tangled at the worldwide box office. The film is Lasseter-era Disney Animation's biggest hit, and without any adjusting and whatnot, it is the world's highest-grossing animated film. No executive walks away from a $1.2 billion worldwide haul, unless your film is something like Titanic.
Gone are the days where animated feature film hits from Disney would end up getting direct-to-video sequels made by another studio (namely, DisneyToon), we're now in the era where a successful film's sequel will be done in-house and will be a theatrical release. Frozen 2 is the first sequel - not counting the continuation that was 2011's Winnie the Pooh, a follow-up to short subjects made decades ago - of this era to be announced by the company. They're still stalling on confirming Wreck-It Ralph 2, though there's probably a good reason why.
Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, was interviewed by Collider the other day. Here's what she said when asked if lines were recorded yet...
"Not yet. We’re just about to. They’ve just written it and they’re still doing tweaks, but I think we should be recording this month. The story is great, and they exude quality. What I know about that whole team is that they wouldn’t just put something out to put it out. That’s why it took them so long to even announce that we were doing a second one. Generally when you have a first successful movie you want to make a second one. It took them a while because they wanted to figure out what story they needed to tell and what would be important and engaging and I think they found it."
She has a point there. Another studio probably would've announced a sequel right away, and banged it out... Disney waited till March 2015 - nearly a year and a half after the film's release - to officially confirm the sequel. With Disney Animation's upcoming slate in mind, her comments could indicate that Frozen 2 will ultimately be the film that the studio will release in November 2018, which would have it bow near the first film's fifth anniversary.
If that ends up being the deal, that's good. A 2018 date gives and has given the story crew lots of time to get the story right. Frozen, dirty little secret, was a rushed movie that was banged out to fill a then-vacant 2013 slot. While the film is beloved the world over, I think it has lots of issues. The studio's recent films that I prefer were unsurprisingly in development and production longer than Frozen was. With the sequel, I feel there is a big amount of room for improvement, and more character development. Hopefully the tone will be a little more even this time, too.
Song work, on the other hand, has yet to come...
"No, not yet. We record all the time for different parks or different parks that open overseas, we’ll do a mashup for the rides. So we actually get to go in — Josh [Gad] and Idina [Menzel], Jonathan [Groff] and I — all the time and record new bits of the music. When Epcot center opens we’ll record a bunch of new music. So we have little bits of Frozen in our life at all times, but I’m excited to get started on the new movie."
It's also worth noting that the Broadway version of the film opens in 2018, so I can see the sequel coinciding with that.
One thing, however...
Moana is the studio's next, it's a princess story/big musical in the vein of the 90s films. That opens this coming Thanksgiving. What's after that? Gigantic, in spring 2018. That's a fairy tale that doesn't seem to have a princess (thankfully, for it doesn't need one), but it will be a big 90s-style musical. Then if Frozen 2 hits in fall 2018, it'll make for a trio of big 90s-style Disney animated films. All back-to-back. Overkill much?
I was personally kind of hoping that the familiar musical/Renaissance-y stuff like Moana, Gigantic, and Frozen 2 would be spaced out a bit while fresher pictures similar to Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia came out between them. Break it up a bit, ya know? Repetitiveness is the tiger trap Disney Animation was pushed into in the mid-90s, and audiences started to see the formula and got tired of it... And yet the studio had to keep repeating it in some way or another thanks to executive orders, to the point where it did more harm than good. Some of us don't want that to happen again.
Two back-to-back is probably alright, considering that we got two completely different stories - Big Hero 6 and Zootopia - back-to-back, but three 90s Renaissance-style films in a row? I'm not sure how to feel about that. Though I suppose it won't be a big deal, if a Ralph/Hero/Zootopia-type picture follows Frozen 2 and hits in 2019.
When do you think Frozen 2 will end up coming out?