... Merchandise is a big part of the strategy at Burbank, California-based Disney, which is the largest licensing company in the world. It's sold almost 500,000 dolls modeled after Elsa and her sister Princess Anna; during a limited-edition offer in January, almost 5,000 were snapped up in 45 minutes at Disneystore.com, a record for the site.
Mattel Inc., a Disney licensee, has sold more than $100 million of "Frozen" toys, while licensee Jakks Pacific Inc. has sold tens of millions of dollars worth ...
When you're firing on all cylinders, what's a little thing like box office grosses?
And this has translated into higher morale inside the Hat Building. As a storyboard artist said to me last week:
"Wow. Did you think this would ever be happening again? I don't think anybody around here imagined we'd be back on top. The last few years, we've felt like second class citizens, so having a blockbuster, it's a new experience."
Well, since the 1990s, anyway. But what I said (and honestly believe) is that hits go in cycles. Even Pixar, a studio with a never-ending hot streak, has movies that do less well than others. (Nobody points at Cars II as an iconic classic, although it did sell a lot of toys ... see above.)
One of the nice things about the hat building these days is it's packed to the gills. Staffers tell me when Big Hero 6 is fully ramped up, work space for the crew will be at a premium. Added to which, there's lots of projects in development, with artists spending their work days in story conference rooms, hashing out plot lines and character arcs.
"We've almost outgrown the building," a supervisor told me. "But it's a nice problem to have."