We often hold up box office numbers as proof of a movie’s success or failure, but even for Frozen, which is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, its box office gross is a fraction of the merchandising revenue it has generated for the Walt Disney Company.
This Wall Street Journal piece offers some remarkable facts and figures about the unstoppable Frozen juggernaut—and Elsa’s surprising triumph over Anna in merchandise sales:
- Retailers will carry twice as much Frozen merchandise this winter than last winter when the film was released.
- More than 3 million Elsa and Anna dresses, each costing up to $130, have been sold at Disney stores and mass retailers in the past year. According to some other media reports, Disney has sold $150 million worth of Frozen dresses.
- Despite being the hero of the film, Anna is not as popular as Elsa. At the J.C. Penney department stores, for example, “Elsa is double what Anna is,” said Lesa Nelson, senior v.p. of children’s merchandise. “You sell two Elsas for every Anna.” A Disney exec told the WSJ, “We came in thinking they would be a little more even until we saw the consumer vote.”
- To meet consumer demand, Disney is airlifting popular Frozen merchandise to retailers instead of shipping it by boat.
- Dazzling D’s Princess Productions, a princess-impersonator service in Southern California, says that no one books Anna on her own for parties. It happens once ever three or four months “usually because they can’t get Elsa and they’d rather have Anna than nobody.”
- Wal-Mart sells 700 Frozen-related items; Toys “R” Us has over 300 products related to the film.
UPDATE: The New York Times published a complementary piece about the Frozen merchandising phenomenon in the November 23rd edition of their Sunday edition. It’s called “How Disney Turned ‘Frozen’ Into a Cash Cow.”