Why Frozen is such a commercial success

Why Frozen is such a commercial success
Sisterly love: 'Frozen' has good family values, says Dr Chan.

"Let it go, let it go. The cold never bothered me anyway. Standing - frozen in the life I've chosen. You won't find me, the past is so behind me. Buried in the snow," my six-year-old daughter Apsara and about 200 children and adults - including me - belted at the top of our lungs in TGV Cinemas Sunway Pyramid, Petaling Jaya.

Right on cue, it snowed in the cinema as Elsa made her way through her self-made snowstorm to create her ice castle. The audience was buried - sprinkled, actually - with man-made snow.

Welcome to the premiere screening of Disney's Frozen Sing-Along.

When I received an invite from TGV Cinemas to attend the premiere, I knew it would be one of the highlights of Apsara's 2014. The other highlight was singing Let it go in her Real Kids graduation concert.

Apsara is a big Frozen fan.

My daughter fell in love with the movie before she watched it in 3D in November last year, as she saw the Let it go music video on YouTube. Since then, she has all things Frozen, i.e. an Elsa dress, crown and wand.

"Is it tomorrow? Is it tomorrow?" she constantly asked me after I told her that we would be watching the movie.

"No, three more nights," I said.

"But you promised tomorrow," she said.

"No, I said three more nights," I said.

"I can't wait, daddy," she said.

On Sunday, I accompanied Apsara to the Frozen Sing-Along movie. Two hours before the premiere, she took her photograph with "Elsa" and had her face painted Frozen-style at a booth organised by TGV Cinemas.

One year after the blockbuster movie was released, the Frozen phenomenon is still alive, judging from the excited children and parents lining up for the other Frozen-themed activities such as make-up, selfie competition and manicures.

I was curious why there was a Frozen Sing-Along movie.

"Disney's Frozen Sing-Along is a huge success and received fantastic response from fans in other countries such as Japan and USA, therefore, we wanted to bring the same experience to the local fans of the movie," said Celeste Koay Ting Ting, TGV Cinemas senior marketing manager. (Frozen Sing-Along will be screened in selected TGV Cinemas until Dec 28.)

So what's a sing-along movie? It is like watching the full movie and singing the songs in a large karaoke room with a cinema-sized screen filled with Frozen fans dressed up like Elsa.

Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. It has won numerous awards such as Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (Let It Go) and Golden Globe Awards for Best Animated Feature. The soundtrack was also on top of the Billboard 200 chart for 10 weeks, breaking the record for animated film soundtrack.

Why is Frozen such a commercial success? To get the answer, I interviewed an expert on the movie, Apsara Golingai.

"Why do you love Frozen?" I said.

"Because I like Elsa," she said.

"Why do you like Elsa?" I said.

"I like her hair," she said, adding, "I also like Olaf, Kristoff, Hans and Anna."

(Actually, she shouldn't like Hans, who is the prince who schemed to usurp the Arendelle throne by conning Princess Anna into falling in love with him. Hans sounds like a boy that my daughter will probably encounter in 10 years' time.)

"Which song is your favourite?" I said.

"Let it go," she said. "You know I like Frozen because I like to sing. I want to practise singing the songs (from Frozen) every day."

Then she jumped up and sang: "Let it go, let it go. That perfect girl is gone."

I asked Dr Edward Chan, Inter­national Psychology Centre principal consultant psychologist, why Frozen was so popular with kids.

"Well, there are a number of factors why this movie is popular with children. Disney employed psychologists to help to come up with a product that is appealing to children and parents," he said.

"One of the factors is that the music is very appealing. It is a feel-good kind of music. The other factor is the plot itself has certain psychological themes including overcoming certain adversities and triumphing over obstacles."

The movie, according to Dr Chan, taught children to overcome their challenges.

"It gives kids a sense that they can overcome their daily problems in school and home. The movie is relatable to the audiences which explains the popularity of this movie," he said.

The other thing, he added, was Frozen had good family values - a good relationship between two sisters who experienced a certain trial.

"It helps them to identify their own family problems - arguing with siblings and restoring family relationships, just like in the movie," he said.

Curious to know whether the King did the right thing to lock Princess Elsa up after her power accidentally injured her younger sister, Princess Anna, I asked Dr Chan for his professional take.

"It is understandable why he did that. Many parents would have used the same strategy to avoid problems or to sweep the problem under the carpet.

"But as the movie showed you, you shouldn't avoid problems or sweep them under the carpet as they would become bigger," he said.

"How do you solve the problem then?" I said.

"Kids have to manage their emotions to deal with their daily problems better. Emotional management is one of the skills that is required throughout all stages of life, be it childhood or even adulthood," he said.

"What's your advice to the King to solve Elsa's problem with her power?" I asked.

"You need to solve the problem and have open communication instead of locking Elsa up. You need to teach her how to deal with her issues," he said.

"What's your quick advice on how Elsa can deal with her issues" I said.

"You must teach children to delay gratification. You need to teach them to work for it instead of giving it to them immediately," he said. "Delayed gratification is related to the movie; if you don't have delayed gratification you will have overpowering emotions, so all the emotions go haywire."

Oops, I'm guilty of not delaying my kids' gratification.

I asked Apsara what she learnt from Frozen.

"Elsa has fear and danger. And love. When she loves someone she can control her power," she said.

The Frozen phenomenon, probably, will remain in a child's psyche even after she's grown up. Kids can't let go.

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