Disney Finds More Ways to Turn 'Frozen' into Cool Cash

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Frozen Frenzy
"Frozen" is the gift that keeps on giving at Disney (DIS). The family entertainment giant continues to find new ways to milk last year's theatrical blockbuster, which has already spawned theme park attractions, a spike in merchandising sales and the theme for the current Disney on Ice tour.

Last week Disney announced that it is working on a new animated short, "Frozen Fever," that will hit theaters next year in support of one of the media juggernaut's releases. Disney's ABC also began airing new promo spots for the fourth season of "Once Upon a Time" that will make its season debut later this month with Anna, Elsa and other characters from the movie in live-action form.

Disney also announced last month that the "Frozen Summer Fun" attractions and festivities that it's been hosting at Florida's Disney's Hollywood Studios will continue through Sept. 28, extending the themed parades, singalong shows, fireworks, and snow play areas by four weeks. When you have a hit on your hands, there's little reason to let "summer" fun be constrained by the actual season.

No Reason to Let It Go

The sleeper hit has been a gold mine for Disney, with nearly $1.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales, making it the fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time. We recently covered other publicly traded companies cashing in on the "Frozen" phenomenon, but clearly there's no one benefiting more from the success of the franchise than Disney itself.

This month Disney Store locations are starting to roll out Halloween costumes. Anna and Elsa dresses will be a focal point, and anyone who has visited a Disney theme park this summer knows that there's no shortage of young girls already decked out as one of the film's two sisters.

The engaging story -- loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" -- has captivated audiences with its catchy songs and humor. It's also become a rallying cry for the changing times in Disney storytelling. Unlike earlier Disney classics in which a princess would be rescued by a fair prince, this time the princess sisters call the shots.

Keeping the Thawing Process Away

Disney's rolling. The stock hit a new high earlier this month -- up nearly 30 percent since "Frozen" made its theatrical debut. Obviously, "Frozen" isn't the only reason for the stock's ascent. Disney is a company with many moving parts, and other factors -- including success at ESPN and this summer's smash movie hit "Guardians of the Galaxy" -- have played starring roles. However, "Frozen" is giving investors peace of mind in knowing that Disney still is the master of the animated craft that put it on the map in the first place.

There is always the risk that Disney will overexpose "Frozen" the way it did with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" a few years ago. Disney had a hit game show on its hands, and ran it into the ground by eventually overtaking ABC with as many as four nights a week of the show on prime-time slots. Consumers got fed up. Already there's a fair amount of eye-rolling when "Let It Go" is played.

However, Disney spent billions on Pixar, Marvel and more recently Lucasfilm, because it knows how to maximize the moneymaking potential of popular characters and franchises. It knows what it's doing, and it's not done squeezing "Frozen" just yet.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any Motley Fool newsletter service free for 30 days. Find new ways to earn high yields with our free report on dividend stocks.
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