Frozen is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 53rd Disney animated feature film, it is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Snow Queen". It tells the story of a fearless princess who sets off on a journey alongside a rugged iceman, his loyal reindeer, and a naive snowman to find her estranged sister, whose icy powers have inadvertently trapped their kingdom in eternal winter.
Frozen underwent several story treatments before being commissioned in 2011, with a screenplay written by Jennifer Lee, who also co-directed with Chris Buck. The film features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana. Christophe Beck was hired to compose the film's orchestral score, while Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the songs.
Frozen premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 19, 2013, had a limited release on November 22 and went into general theatrical release on November 27. It was met with positive reviews and praise for its visuals, screenplay, themes, music, and voice acting; some film critics consider Frozen to be the best Disney animated feature film since the studio's renaissance era. The film also achieved significant commercial success, earning $1.276 billion in worldwide box office revenue, including $400 million in the United States and Canada and $247 million in Japan. It went on to surpass Toy Story 3 (which was also distributed by Disney) as the highest-grossing animated film of all time; it also ranks as the 14th highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing film of 2013, and the third highest-grossing film in Japan. It was also the highest-earning film with a female director in terms of US earnings, until surpassed by Warner Bros. Pictures' Wonder Woman. With over 18 million home media sales in 2014, it became the best-selling film of the year in the United States. By January 2015, Frozen had become the all-time best-selling Blu-ray Disc in the United States.
Frozen won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("Let It Go"), the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film,the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film, five Annie Awards (including Best Animated Feature), two Grammy Awards for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Written for Visual Media ("Let It Go"), and two Critics' Choice Movie Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song("Let It Go"). An animated short sequel, Frozen Fever, premiered on March 13, 2015, an animated featurette titled Olaf's Frozen Adventure, premiered on November 22, 2017, and a feature-length sequel, Frozen 2, is set for release on November 22, 2019.
Princess Elsa of Arendelle possesses magic powers that allow her to control and create ice and snow, often using it to play with her younger sister, Anna. After Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her magic, their parents, the King and Queen, take both siblings to a colony of trolls led by Grand Pabbie. He heals Anna, but alters her memories to remove traces of Elsa's magic, warning Elsa that she must learn to control her powers. He also states that fear will be Elsa's greatest enemy. The King and Queen isolate both sisters within the castle. Elsa shuts Anna out, causing a rift between them. Unable to control it, Elsa can only suppress her power, causing her to become more insecure. When the sisters are teenagers, their parents die at sea during a storm.
When Elsa turns 21, she is to be crowned queen of Arendelle. She is terrified that the kingdom's citizens might find out about her powers and fear her. The castle gates open to the public and visiting dignitaries for the first time in years. Among them is the scheming Duke of Weselton and the dashing Prince Hans of the Southern Isles, the latter of whom Anna falls in love with at first sight. Elsa's coronation happens without a hitch, but she still remains distant from Anna. When Hans proposes to Anna, Elsa objects, accidentally unleashing her powers before the court; the Duke brands her a monster. Elsa flees to the North Mountain, where she finally acknowledges her powers, building a palace of ice in which to live a hermit life. In the process however, her suppressed magic engulfs Arendelle in an eternal winter.
Anna ventures out to find Elsa and end the winter, leaving Hans in command. She gets lost, collecting supplies at Wandering Oaken's shop. She meets an ice harvester named Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, convincing them to take her to the mountains. An attack by wolves leads to Kristoff's sleigh being destroyed. On foot, they meet Olaf, a cheerful snowman brought to life unknowingly by Elsa, who offers to lead them to her. When Anna's horse returns to Arendelle, Hans sets out to find Anna and Elsa, accompanied by the Duke's minions, who have secret orders to kill Elsa.
Reaching the ice palace, Anna meets Elsa, but when she reveals what has become of Arendelle, Elsa becomes upset, saying that she cannot undo it, and accidentally freezes Anna's heart, poisoning her. She then makes a giant snow monster named Marshmallow, who chases Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf away. Realizing the effects of Elsa's spell on Anna, Kristoff takes her to the trolls, his adoptive family. Grand Pabbie reveals that Anna will freeze solid unless "an act of true love" reverses the spell. Kristoff races Anna back home so Hans can give her true love's kiss. Hans and his men reach Elsa's palace, defeating Marshmallow and capturing Elsa. Anna is delivered to Hans but, rather than kissing her, Hans instead reveals that he has actually been plotting to seize the throne of Arendelle by eliminating both sisters. Hans locks Anna in a room to die, and then manipulates the dignitaries into believing that Elsa killed her. He orders the queen's execution, only to discover she has escaped her detention cell.
Olaf frees Anna, and they venture into the blizzard outside to meet Kristoff, whom Olaf reveals is in love with her. Hans confronts Elsa outside, claiming that she killed Anna, causing Elsa to break down and abruptly stop the storm. Anna spots Hans about to kill Elsa; she leaps in the way and freezes solid, stopping Hans. Devastated, Elsa hugs and mourns over her sister, who thaws out, her heroism constituting "an act of true love". Realizing that love is the key to controlling her magic, Elsa ends the winter and gives Olaf his own snow flurry to survive the warmer climate. Hans is arrested and exiled from the kingdom for his attempted assassination, while the Duke's trade links with Arendelle are cut off. Anna gives Kristoff a new sleigh and the two kiss. Both sisters are reunited and Elsa promises never to lock the castle gates again.
- Kristen Bell as Anna, the 18-year-old Princess of Arendelle and Elsa's younger sister
- Idina Menzel as Elsa, the 21-year-old Queen of Arendelle and Anna's elder sister
- Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, an iceman who is accompanied by a reindeer named Sven
- Josh Gad as Olaf, a comic-relief snowman that Elsa and Anna created as children, who dreams of experiencing summer
- Santino Fontana as Hans, a prince from the Southern Isles
- Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton
- Ciarán Hinds as Grand Pabbie, the Troll King
- Chris Williams as Oaken, the owner of Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna
- Maia Wilson as Bulda, a troll and Kristoff's adoptive mother
- Paul Briggs as Marshmallow, a giant snow monster who guards Elsa's palace
- Maurice LaMarche as the King of Arendelle, Anna and Elsa's father
- Jennifer Lee as the Queen of Arendelle, Anna and Elsa's mother
Non-speaking characters include Kristoff's reindeer companion Sven, horses, and wolves. The grunts and snorts for Sven were all provided by Frank Welker who was not credited in the film.
Walt Disney Productions first began exploring a possible live action/animation biography film of author and poet Hans Christian Andersen sometime in late 1937 before the December premiere of its film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length hand-drawn animated film ever made.:10 In March 1940, Walt Disneysuggested a co-production to film producer Samuel Goldwyn, where Goldwyn's studio would shoot the live-action sequences of Andersen's life and Disney's studio would animate Andersen's fairy tales.:10 The animated sequences would be based on some of Andersen's best known works, such as The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Red Shoes, and The Emperor's New Clothes. However, the studio encountered difficulty with The Snow Queen, as it could not find a way to adapt and relate the Snow Queen character to modern audiences. Even as far back as the 1930s and 1940s, it was clear that the source material contained great cinematic possibilities, but the Snow Queen character proved to be too problematic. After the United States entered World War II, the studio began to focus on making wartime propaganda, which caused development on the Disney–Goldwyn project to grind to a halt in 1942.:10 Goldwyn went on to produce his own live-action film version in 1952, entitled Hans Christian Andersen, with Danny Kaye as Andersen, Charles Vidordirecting, Moss Hart writing, and Frank Loesser penning the songs. All of Andersen's fairy tales were, instead, told in song and ballet in live-action, like the rest of the film. It went on to receive six Academy Award nominations the following year. Back at Disney, The Snow Queen, along with other Andersen fairy tales (including The Little Mermaid), were shelved.