Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

Once again, animation is dominating a revived box office. The country this time is Spain and the film is Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (in Spanish, Zapatos rojos y los siete trolls), which has topped the rankings for two weekends in a row.

The cg feature from South Korea took €105,291 (USD$118,867) across 214 screens on its Spanish premiere last weekend, according to Comscore. It added another €100,020 this weekend, taking its total gross in the country to €314,760 (USD$358,635). Disney-Pixar’s Onward ranked second this weekend with €48,884, having come third and first in the previous two weekends.

These numbers, while inevitably small, substantiate the theory that feel-good family features are in demand at the moment. Not everything about Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs is feel-good, however. The film, which parodies the Snow White story, stars a full-figured princess who magically loses weight, and is presented thereafter as a typical beauty.

This has proved controversial: in 2017, a billboard promoting the English-language film at the Cannes Film Market drew accusations of fat-shaming. The backlash provoked an apology from producers Locus Corporation and a denunciation from Chloë Grace Moretz, the star of its voice cast.

The film was directed by Sung-ho Hong (Egg-Cola: A Miracle in the Desert). Disney veteran Sang-jin Kim (a.k.a. Jin Kim; Tangled, Frozen, Moana) served as character designer and animation director. According to Box Office Mojo, it grossed USD$5 million on its release in South Korea last summer. It has not been released in the U.S.

The (relative) triumph of animation in Spain reflects something of a global trend for post-lockdown theatrical exhibition. The North American and U.K. box offices were recently topped by Disney’s Zootopia and Onward, respectively. In Japan, a trio of old Studio Ghibli titles — Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind — have just taken the top three spots for the third weekend running. Since April, Spirited Away alone has grossed around 493 million yen (USD$4.55 million) in the country, according to its distributor Toho.