Just last week, Seattle-based retail mogul Amazon.com Inc. announced that Walt Disney Studios’ animated feature Frozen, released last November, broke records as the “best-ever selling kids movie,” both in terms of DVD/Blu-ray disc sales and digital downloads. The facts don’t lie: on the first day of its release, Disney’s Oscar-grabber raked in more than 3.2 million Blu-ray and DVD discs, including pre-sale orders. Factor in the digital downloads, and we’re talking major figures here. Forget making it rain. Disney’s about to start making it SNOW.
This announcement hardly comes as a surprise. Frozen seems to have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue since its November release. Hailed by many critics and fans as one of the most “girl-empowering” animated features the company has released in recent years, it has generated a ton of interest and has broken records left and right. Perhaps the most important one? Frozen is the first Disney feature-length film written and directed by a woman, who goes by the name of Jennifer Lee. In the 90-plus years that Disney has been weaving tales about princesses and other female characters, this is the first time a flesh-and-blood woman has had a major say in their portrayal. It’s about time, Walt.
News of Frozen’s sale success comes on the heels of another Disney announcement. Last month, the company revealed the launch of its digital cloud/download service Disney Movies Anywhere, which allows consumers to buy, download, and watch Disney films on a host of different media devices like smartphones and tablets through retailers like Apple Inc. The release of this service is a move on Disney’s part to boost sales of their films, which have dropped in recent years as consumers have increasingly turned to video-streaming services for their viewing needs. And it seems to make a lot of sense. The way people, and families specifically, consume media has definitely changed in the past few years. Years ago, if a kid wanted to watch a Disney movie, they had to have a physical copy of the film, either a VHS tape or DVD/Blu-ray, and plop themselves down in front of the TV. Now, it seems like every three-year-old in the world knows how to operate an iPad better than Steve Jobs probably could. This means that the movie-viewing experience is no longer a stationary one, because a parent can have a kid watching Frozen in the backseat of the car while out running errands, or in virtually any place or situation. You can bet your last snowflake that Disney is banking on these kids’ parents having access to media devices like tablets and laptops, and their desire to recreate the Disney experience they had for their children with the efficiency and ease that newer technology affords.
With this new technology available to consumers, Disney can get movies like Frozen into the hands (and heads) of consumers considerably quicker than they were able to in the past. The effects that this will have on the ways families and children consume Disney’s media and incorporate it, if at all, into their own lives have yet to be seen, however. In the meantime, we can only hope that as Disney moves its distribution tactics into the future, the content it produces, like Frozen, will move in a similar direction.