“Do you want to build a snowman?” Moviegoers’ answer to this question, posed by one of the catchy tunes in Disney’s “Frozen,” is a resounding yes.
Originally released over the Thanksgiving holiday, “Frozen” has steadily but surely become a cultural phenomenon. While holiday blockbusters like “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” have come and gone, “Frozen” is showing incredible staying power. According to box office aggregate Box Office Mojo, Frozen grossed $6.9 million in its 11th weekend of release, the eighth highest weekend gross of all time at that point in a film’s run.
“Frozen,” when all is said and done, will likely become Disney Animation Studios’ highest grossing film and is showing no signs of slowing down. Original songs from the movie are proving to be just as successful — the film’s official soundtrack has reached the top of the Billboard charts on the back of Demi Lovato’s rendition of “Let It Go.”
To help spur the film’s momentum, Disney has released a sing-along version of “Frozen” in over 2,000 theaters nationwide. In this version, karaoke-style lyrics pop up on screen during the movie’s several musical numbers. Along with a bouncing snowflake that helps the audience keep up with the tempo, the lyrics are color-coded with the film’s main characters.
The sing-along component works with the film, but only sometimes. At a screening at the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 last weekend, the audience composed of kids, parents and teens were particularly enthusiastic while singing “Let It Go” and “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” but not involved during some of the film’s less triumphant songs.
Sing-along component or not, “Frozen” is a charming, visually striking film that earns its place in the pantheon of Disney. However, this is not the kind of brash musical that benefits from audience participation. While crooning “Let It Go” as a delightful experience, most of the songs in the film are in the tradition of spoken word poetry, sung well but lacking melody.
The sing-along component may not be perfect in execution, but it has proven to be lucrative for Disney. According to Disney, the sing-along version added $2.2 million in ticket sales to its weekend total, allowing “Frozen” to edge out newcomers such as “Labor Day” and “That Awkward Moment” despite being in theaters for over two months.
If “Frozen” continues to be a box office smash long after the winter ends, perhaps audiences will be treated with more theatrical sing-alongs in the future. For those who love to go to the theater and have an experience that cannot be replicated at home, let’s hope so.
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