How Long Can ‘Frozen’ Fever Last for Disney?

Consumers still haven’t grown cold on “Frozen.”

The movie, which became the highest-grossing animated film after its release in November 2013, continues to play for Disney, this time in the retail aisle.

Merchandise tied to the toon was a significant seller for Disney, especially its Disney Stores, during the holidays, with the company’s consumer products division reporting a 22% boost in revenue and profits by 46% during the Mouse House’s first quarter of fiscal 2015, which ended Dec. 27.

“Frozen” merchandise may be hot, but it’s not the only property making money for Disney’s consumer products arm.

Disney counts 11 franchises that made $1 billion in retail sales last year and are expected to do so again this year. That includes Disney Channel properties, Mickey and Minnie, Spider-Man and the Avengers. “Stars Wars” isn’t one of them yet, according to the company.

Without revealing specific financial figures, “I don’t think we can underestimate the impact that ‘Frozen’ has had across our company and all of our businesses,” said Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, during a call with analysts. “We absolutely believe this is the beginning of a long-term franchise for the company that will reflect itself across all of our divisions.”

Rasulo cautioned not to overestimate “Frozen’s” dominance, however.

“Many other franchises were contributors (last quarter) to the success of the consumer products division,” Rasulo said. “We like what ‘Frozen’ delivers, but it’s certainly not the only one for us. The consumer products business has a lot of breadth. ‘Frozen’ will continue to play a big part in it,” but isn’t yet such a dominant force that the company needs to worry about beating strong sales numbers each year.

Still, since making nearly $1.3 billion at the box office alone, “Frozen” has clearly cemented its place as one of Disney’s biggest franchises — one that it wants to continue to grow.

Disney already had announced “Frozen Fever” as a new animated short film that will reunite the toon’s characters on the bigscreen when it debuts in March in front of a live-action retelling of “Cinderella.”

The seven-minute short is expected to put another spotlight on “Frozen” and its characters.

“We actually believe it will generate some more buzz for ‘Frozen’ and generate more buying in terms of consumer products,” said Disney chief Bob Iger during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s strong first quarter results.

Disney continues to see post-holiday momentum when it comes to sales of “Frozen” merchandise, “which is unique,” said Iger, for any property during the weeks following Christmas. “It speaks to continued demand for our franchises.”

While Iger was high on Disney’s upcoming studio releases, particularly citing “Cinderella” as “a great film,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” also is expected to generate major sales of toys, apparel and other products tied to the Marvel sequel, as will “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — a film that opens in December and whose revenue will be counted at the start of Disney’s fiscal 2016 year. Pixar’s upcoming films, “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur,” are question marks, however.

“I don’t know if any one of theme will drive significant consumer products” sales, Iger said of the films that are based on original concepts.

Of its 11 billion-dollar franchises, Iger still sees “a great opportunity to mine these franchises across Disney’s (theme) parks,” he said.

“Frozen” already has a presence at its resorts, with “Frozen Fun” having debuted at its California parks in January, and its Epcot park revamping the Norwegian ride, “Malstrom,” around the toon.

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