Thursday 24 April 2014

Frozen's Box Office Success Aftermath: Is Big Hero 6 In Danger of Overly High Expectations?

As you may already know, (unless you've been living under a rock for the past 5 months) Frozen is a worldwide phenomenon. It won two Oscars, people sing "Let It Go" everywhere, and it has grossed more than $1 billion at the box office. This is all great news for Walt Disney Animation Studios, who have been staging this kind of comeback since 2007. Frozen is the result of years of great effort from the hard-working Disney crew, to try and turn things around and became the creative powerhouse they once were way back in the 90s. Still, one question arises after this kind of success: what's next? Will their next films earn anywhere near the same amount of money? One can dream, but $1 billion grosses are not something that can be earned that easily. This puts their next film, Big Hero 6, in a difficult position regarding its box office revenue.

We still don't know a lot about Big Hero 6 (and I think it's time we at least know the cast) but it has a lot of interesting elements in its favour. First of all, it's based on a Marvel property. True, it's a rather obscure one, but the name Marvel has become synonymous with good superhero films, so with that name attached, people will surely think highly of it. Also, and very importantly, WDAS is doing the film - and that is a reason to celebrate. Since their spectacular comeback, creative juices at the studio have been firing on all cylinders, and I think this latest film will be no exception. Then we have the film itself; a superhero tale with a mixture of Japanese culture and unique characters is a great set-up for what can become the studio's next classic.

Still, even with all these elements in the right place, there are many factors that can conspire against a film's box office run. Marketing can do a lousy job promoting it, the weekend it opens on may not be ideal, people may not be interested, and so on and so on. So, even if a film is good, box office success is not guaranteed. I'm raising this concern because, in the wake of Frozen's phenomenal run, many executives at the company, and the public in general, will expect Big Hero 6 to perform similarly well.

It's good to have expectations, but, like I said above, to gross $1 billion is not an easy task. It's even more difficult if it's an original idea rather than a sequel (in fact, Frozen is one of only four original films to ever pass that boundary), so there's a big chance that Big Hero 6 won't earn the same amount of money as its predecessor. However, I don't think that's a bad thing. If you look at Pixar, only Toy Story 3 has earned more than a billion, but still all their films are deemed as successful. If Big Hero 6 earns around $700 or $800 million it would be a massive hit too, don't you think? I just hope that the executives at the company and the general media will see it that way too.

One of the problems after The Lion King was that the company expected that same kind of success in all the films that followed and, when the films failed to meet those expectations, they were deemed failures, when in reality they were far from it.

Before Frozen, WDAS released films that were considered successes, like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, but Frozen jumped so very far ahead of them that I'm afraid that, if Big Hero 6 earns less than it or more in line with the films before it, many people will cry "Failure!," when that's simply not the case.

I'll love it if Big Hero 6 is a superb film that grosses as much as Frozen, or even more. But, the truth is that there's no guarantee of that, and very high expectations could kill this film's reputation. All I'm saying is that executives, the media and the general public need to be aware that the film probably won't gross $1 billion, but it can still be successful in its own right.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, to a point. You are right that people will be quick to scream "failure", but a hit is a hit. If it manages to reach 500 million+, there is really nothing to say other than its a hit regardless if it can't reach the lofty heights of Frozen. In the same way Cap 2 isn't being viewed as a failure, I don't think Big Hero 6 will be either.