On November 13, 2013, Disney released their 53rd film produced by their famous Walt Disney Animation Studios, Frozen. Though much of the film remained a mystery prior to showing, strategic marketing — which includes an early release of the movie’s hit song “Let It Go,” performed by Idina Menzel — assisted in making the film “must-see” for families. Along with word-of-mouth promotion from admirers, Frozen became the fifth most popular film at the box office, making over $1.2 billion, as reported by Box Office Mojo.
It was only good business sense that Disney would eventually produce a sequel, and on March 12, 2015, they made it official. However, if one were to take a historic account of sequels of films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, then fans should not expect something that surpasses the original. Instead, fans should expect Frozen 2 to be given the direct-to-video treatment.
The fact of the matter is that almost all the sequels of animations by Walt Disney Animation Studios are not made by them. Instead, the projects are given to DisneyToon Studios. Through them, sequels for Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and many others were produced. It should be noted that all of the sequels, with the exception of those for The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and two for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, were direct-to-video.
Yet, all of them did not fare as well compared to the initial animations under the production of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Maybe it is because Walt Disney Animation Studios’ projects get more social and media attention. Or maybe it is the history associated with the studio itself. Whatever the reason is, they produce the better product.
This might be debilitating news for Frozen fans who expect the sequel to surpass the original. It is true that if DisneyToon Studios were to herald Frozen 2, it will be entertaining. Production value may be lower than Walt Disney Animation Studios, but they still produce quality with what they have. It just won’t be up to par.
However, there is a glimmer of hope on the edge of the horizon. According to the official website of Walt Disney Animation Studios as well as their Wikipedia page, the studio has done sequels in canon. What’s more important, both sequels were better in some way than the original.
The first one is Fantasia 2000. Released at the box office on New Year’s Day of 2000, it is the direct sequel to Fantasia, which was released about sixty years earlier. It also made $90 million at the box office worldwide, which is just a little over $89 million more than the original.
Now to be fair, there is a huge gap of time between Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Disney has since innovated both animation, musical representation, advertisement, and production. This brings us to The Rescuers Down Under.
Releasing at the box office on November 16, 1990, it is the first sequel the studio has ever produced, as it follows after The Rescuers, which was released thirteen years earlier. It has also made $47 million worldwide, which doesn’t sound like much an achievement compared to The Rescuers, which made $71 million. But if the fact that The Rescuers received three different box office openings while its sequel only got one is taken into account, it doesn’t seem so bad.
Also, The Rescuers Down Under has the misfortune of being released within Disney’s Renaissance, yet not be a Renaissance animation. During that time, the studios’ resurgence concentrated animations to be based off of historic stories with high animation and music production. The Rescuers Down Under is considered the oddball compared to The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan.
The Rescuers Down Under garners its popularity is among viewers and critics. Both agree that the sequel is a better animation than the original. Parts that stand out include the score (especially during scenes of Cody riding the skies on the back of Marahuté) and voice acting by the late John Candy.
In conclusion, Frozen 2 is highly-anticipated and will deliver, but following the trend of sequels to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ classics, it will most likely not surpass Frozen. However, if it is announced that Frozen 2 will be produced as a canon sequel by Walt Disney Animation Studios themselves, then it will — guaranteed — be better than anything we would ever imagine.
[Images via Disney]