Disney is going back to the well-known: “Frozen 4” is potentially in the Walt Disney Animation Studios forecast, Disney chief Bob Iger said Thursday.
Yes, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven could be returning for yet another installment of the icy adventures in Arendelle — maybe even Ahtohallan? — before the third edition of the blockbuster franchise even hits theaters.
“‘Frozen 3’ is in the works, and there might be a ‘Frozen 4’ in the works too,” the Walt Disney Co. chief executive said on “Good Morning America.” “But I don’t have much to say about those films right now. [Director] Jenn Lee, who created the original ‘Frozen’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ is hard at work with her team at Disney Animation on not one but actually two stories.”
The familiar — and safe-bet — intellectual property will also herald the returns of Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who are set to write new music for the films. Kristen Anderson-Lopez, whose memorable songs include the Idina Menzel-belted “Let It Go” and “Into the Unknown,” confirmed exactly that on X, tweeting Thursday: “Well, I’ve been quiet here for a while. But yeah, this.” She included a “Frozen 4” report in her tweet.
Disney released the Oscar-winning adventure “Frozen” in 2013 and its charming follow-up, “Frozen 2,” in 2019. “Frozen 3” is still in its early stages, Lee said last month, but the Disney Animation chief creative officer has been impressed by what she’s seen so far. (Lee directed and co-wrote the first two films, as well as the 2015 short “Frozen Fever,” and both feature films crossed the $1-billion box office threshold.)
“Every morning last week they carved out space for me to work with the creative team on it, and I am blown away and I am so excited,” the director said, via Variety. “I don’t know what I’m doing on it yet — I’m not doing nothing — except doing what I do now, which is we work on every project as a team and I’m in there with creative. But with ‘Frozen,’ just a little bit more.”
She added, “Our philosophy is this, and it won’t change: If there is more story to tell, the filmmakers have to drive it. And I’ll say with ‘Frozen,’ Marc Smith, who was our director of story on ‘Frozen 2,’ came with an incredible idea for more ‘Frozen,’ and it’s worth it.”
Earlier this month, Iger, who dramatically returned to the helm of the world’s best-known entertainment company a year ago, said that the Walt Disney Co. is ready to build its business again after a long period of “fixing” what had gone wrong in his absence. The company reported significant progress toward making its popular but money-losing streaming services profitable, as it continues the awkward transition from linear television to direct-to-consumer apps.
The studio, which will release its latest animated feature, “Wish,” on Nov. 22, is also recovering from the the disappointing initial reception for Pixar’s “Elemental” last summer. The film had the worst opening of a Pixar film ever, but ended up gaining traction in theaters in the weeks after its release. It also found new audiences on the company’s Disney+ streaming platform in September.
And there’s still plenty of “Frozen” fare for the company to revel in: Iger made his Thursday announcement from Disney’s Hong Kong theme park during the opening ceremony of World of Frozen, an attraction that allows guests to meet the franchise’s beloved characters, dine at restaurants and walk the Arendelle-inspired streets.
“For years at our Disney Parks, we’ve been creating these large immersive worlds. Essentially, they are the physical embodiment of some of the greatest stories that we’ve told. … And of course, ‘Frozen’ being one of our most valuable franchises, I think it’s just right for building the place that ‘Frozen’ takes place in,” Iger said. “It’s just a fantastic land that enables people to get immersed in the story of ‘Frozen’ and interact with all the great characters from the films.”
In August, the company also announced a new “Frozen” podcast that features new stories about the film’s characters.
Times senior editor Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.