Walt Disney Pictures may be making big money off Marvel movies right now, but 2013 hit Frozen proved that the studio can still pack a punch in the animated family musical genre - by becoming Disney's highest grossing animated film since The Lion King, as well as the highest-grossing animated film ever made.
For any other film such success would lead to work beginning on a sequel almost immediately, but Disney animated sequels have something of a poor reputation, usually being released direct-to-video with a downgraded budget. Follow-ups to Frozen have gone in three directions so far: an animated short called Frozen Fever; a stage musical based on the film; and talk of a sequel that some claim is already in development.
Frozen was co-written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Christopher Buck, who also made Frozen Fever and are currently promoting the short, which will accompany screenings of Disney's Cinderella. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lee and Buck were asked if there was anything to the rumors of Frozen 2 being in development, but the filmmakers said that they don't even have a story in mind for the sequel, let alone a developing script.
Buck: "It’s been in the press that we are doing [Frozen 2], and we would ask each other, ‘Are we?’ They’d have a date and they’d have a cast and it was like, OK..."
Lee: "It all comes down to the story... Until we find our way into what’s next, emotionally, it will feel too big. We just finished the short two weeks ago. One year ago, it was a lot to even think about doing a short. We were quite tired. We don’t really know what it’s like to stop for a minute and think about what we want to do next."
Buck: "There is a bit of that drop-the-mic thing. Just go, [drops mic] ‘I don’t know what else to do.'"
Of course, just because Lee and Buck aren't sure that they want to make Frozen 2, it doesn't necessarily mean that Disney will pass up the opportunity to cash in on a sequel and simply assign someone else to the task. As far as the Frozen duo are concerned, however, the real key will be figuring out exactly what they managed to do right the first time.
"It was the scary thing of, ‘How do you follow Frozen up?’ We were scared. I don’t think we even began to understand what people liked about the movie... I don’t think you can ever quite get your head around it. And just when you think you’re starting to figure out why, you realize you have no idea. You go out to dinner and there’s kids wearing a ‘I Like Warm Hugs’ T-shirt and it hits you again. Two years ago, we were writing that and wondering if kids would even like this character. Every day we’re still surprised. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it."
Frozen Fever will feature a new song from Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who wrote the songs for the original movie including the tearaway hit "Let it Go". The short catches up with the gang from the first movie as they plan a birthday celebration for Anna, which goes awry when Elsa catches a cold that makes her powers spin out of control.
We’ll keep you updated on Frozen 2 if development continues. Frozen Fever will be in theaters screening alongside Cinderella, which is set for release on March 13th, 2015.