When Walt Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger showed up at the premiere of film Frozen on Nov. 27, he was already sure that the animated musical about two sisters was something special, a return to the magical essence that made Disney, well, Disney. By the time he got to the credits, he had choked up. "I was glad I was wearing [3-D] glasses," he says. "It was my proudest moment as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company."
11月27日，沃尔特?迪斯尼公司(Walt Disney)首席执行官兼董事长鲍勃?伊格尔出现在电影《冰雪奇缘》(Frozen )首映礼的时候，他已经确信，这部以两姐妹为主线的动画音乐剧很特别，它是一部重回迪斯尼赖以成名的魔法世界的动画巨制。等到摄制人员名单一一出现在银幕时，他早已哽咽得不能自已。“幸亏我带着3D眼镜，”他说。“这是我出任沃尔特?迪斯尼公司CEO以来最自豪的时刻。”
Frozen is melting Iger's heart not just because of the cold, hard, cash it's generating -- it has grossed $669 million so far, and it hasn't even opened in China or Japan -- but also because the success of the film, the third in a row for the studio after years of disappointment, appears to show that Disney Animation Studios is finally, finally back in the groove. "I realized, 'My goodness, Disney Animation is where it rightfully belongs,'" he says. "The exhilaration was profound. It's not about the bottom line. The bottom line is for the quarter. This is for something bigger and longer."
The tale of two estranged sister princesses who must come together to de-ice their homeland,Frozen is racking up the big numbers. It was the No. 1 all-time Disney animation debut, and it is expected to soon pass The Lion King in overall box office; it's been nominated for two Golden Globes and may get an Oscar nod; it's the No. 1 album on both Amazon and iTunes. (Apparently, the "polar vortex" helped; people didn't seem to mind watching a story about an icy world when they were actually living in one.)
《冰雪奇缘》讲述了两位疏远的公主两姐妹历经艰辛团聚在一起，最终为她们的家园解除冰封的故事。这部电影正在创造一系列重要的数字：它是有史以来首映周票房最高的动画电影，整体票房预计将很快超过《狮子王》(The Lion King)；它获得了两项金球奖提名，或许也将获得奥斯卡评审委员会的肯定；它是亚马逊网站(Amazon)和 iTunes商店销量最高的电影专辑。（显然，目前正在美国各地肆虐的“极地涡旋”也起到了推波助澜的作用；当人们本身就生活在冰天雪地的时候，他们似乎就不介意观看一部讲述冰雪世界的电影。）
Frozen also has what Disney (DIS) calls "franchise" potential, which means that its characters and themes will translate across the company to everything from toys to theme park rides to interactive characters. It's a big deal, because there are only a relative handful of franchise brands at Disney. "They're not just making money inside of that film window," says Tony Wible, senior media and entertainment analyst at Janney Capital Markets. "In that Disney fashion, they set it up across the whole spectrum."
部电影的人物和主题将穿越这家公司的各个部门，最终转化为数不胜数的产品，从玩具到主题公园游乐设施，再到互动角色，不一而足。这是一笔庞大的买卖，因为迪斯尼公司目前只有为数不多的特许经营品牌。“这部影片带来的收益不只是票房，”詹尼资本市场公司(Janney Capital Markets)资深媒体和娱乐分析师托尼?怀伯说。“他们肯定会在整个娱乐产品链打造这些品牌，这是迪斯尼公司历来遵循的经营之道。”
In the Michael Eisner/Jeffrey Katzenberg heyday between 1984 and 1994, Disney Animation rolled out one musical blockbuster after another. There was The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and many others. And then the pixie dust dried up. For years, the offerings were listless and underperformed. Morale dropped and talent departed as companies like Dreamworks and Pixar took the lead in animation. Says Iger: "We went through a long period where, for a variety of reasons, we weren't making the films that drove the perception of the company and the brand." That was a major reason why Iger's first big move as CEO was to spend over $7 billion to buy Pixar in 2006.
1984年和1994年之间，也就是迈克尔?艾斯纳和杰弗里?卡森伯格执掌迪士尼动画的鼎盛时期，这家公司推出了一部又一部令人叹为观止的音乐剧。其中，最耳熟能详的当然是《小美人鱼》( The Little Mermaid)、《狮子王》(The Lion King)和《美女与野兽》(Beauty and the Beast)。随后，精灵之尘终于枯竭。多年来，这家工作室的作品总是无精打采，差强人意。随着梦工厂(Dreamworks)和皮克斯( Pixar)等公司强势崛起，后来居上，迪斯尼动画的士气愈发消沉，人才纷纷出走。伊格尔说：“我们经历了一段漫长的困难时期，出于各种原因，我们当时无法制作出能够提升迪士尼品牌形象的电影。”这正是迪斯尼动画工作室在2006年斥资70多亿美元收购皮克斯公司（这也是伊格尔出任CEO后的首个大动作）的主要原因。
And so, starting seven years ago, two of Pixar's co-founders, John Lasseter (now chief creative officer of both Disney Animation and Pixar) and Ed Catmull (now president of both studios), began to split their time between Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, commuting between the Bay Area and Anaheim every week in hopes of rekindling that Disney magic. Rather than trying to graft Pixar's thriving culture onto Disney's struggling one, they determined that the goal was to resurrect what had made Disney so special in the first place -- the technically audacious, yet magical, fairy tale. But while they screened films for each other to get feedback, Pixar employees and Disney employees didn't actually work together on films, even during crunch times. Lasseter and Catmull believed it was critical to keep the two identities separate.
They did, however, import one key Pixar attribute: They put the director, rather than the studio chief or the animation head, in charge of the story. Unlike many studios, Pixar lets the director determine the arc of the narrative. Technology is used in service of the storytelling rather than as its starting point. "It was an executive-driven studio," says Lasseter. "Now it's a filmmaker-driven studio." It was a major shift -- and one that took a while to catch on; first used with The Princess and the Frog, a well-reviewed film with disappointing sales, it began to catch hold with Tangled (2010) and Wreck-it-Ralph (2012), each of which outperformed financial and critical expectations. "Disney Animation has done three years in a row of really great stuff," says analyst Wible.
然而，迪斯尼动画的确引入了皮克斯一项关键特征：他们让导演（而不是工作室高管或动画主管）负责整个故事。不同于许多动画工作室，皮克斯让导演决定叙事的弧线。技术被用来服务于故事叙述，而不是充当电影的出发点。“迪斯尼动画过去是一家由行政高管驱动的工作室，”拉塞特说。“现在，它是一家由电影制片人驱动的工作室。”这是一个重大转变，迪斯尼动画耗费了相当一段时间才完成了这个转变。它首先在电影《公主与青蛙》(The Princess and the Frog)使用这种制作权力框架，这部电影虽然深受评论界好评，但票房却非常令人失望。2010年和2012年相继推出的《魔发奇缘》(Tangled)和《无敌破坏王》(Wreck-it-Ralph)终于让迪斯尼动画尝到了甜头，这两部电影的票房收入和评论反响均超出了预期。娱乐分析师怀伯说：“迪士尼动画最近三年来接连制作出真正的好电影。”
Then came Frozen, based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, an idea that had kicked around Disney since the 1940s. Lasseter, whose first job was at Disney Animation, remembered a series of paintings of a frozen world and dug them out of storage when he came back. "I never forgot those paintings," he says. "They were so incredibly beautiful." Lasseter showed them to Chris Buck, the director of Tarzan, who had left Disney in the dark years, and helped convince him to come back. Later, he brought in Jennifer Lee, a screenwriter on Wreck-it-Ralph who is also the first woman to direct an animated Disney feature. Frozen's story is both timeless, as a classic Disney tale should be, and modern (both sisters are strong protagonists with a modern sensibility rather than passive females awaiting a man).
随后，迪士尼动画工作室推出根据安徒生童话《冰雪女王》(The Snow Queen)改编而成的《冰雪奇缘》。其实，早在上世纪40年代，迪士尼公司就萌生了这个想法。当初拉塞特（他最初就是在迪斯尼动画工作）回到迪士尼动画工作室的时候，他依然记得一系列描绘冰冻世界的画作，并从储藏室中把它们重新挖掘出来。“我从来没有忘记那些画，”他说。“那些画面堪称美轮美奂，简直令人难以置
Frozen's impact goes far beyond the movie theater, making it a key example of the synergy Iger has become known for during his Disney tenure. Anna and Elsa, the lead characters in the movie, have already become top-selling toys, as has Olaf the snowman, and a Frozen attraction at Disney's theme parks would be another logical step. Its music, written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, is a natural for Broadway. In my house, for example, the movie's songs, such as "Let It Go," and "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" have become the soundtrack to our lives, thanks to my daughters.
《冰雪奇缘》的影响力远远超出电影院，从而使其成为伊格尔执掌迪斯尼动画期间赖以成名的协同效应的一个重要例证。这部电影的主角安娜和艾莎，以及雪人奥拉夫已经成为最畅销的玩具，在迪斯尼主题公园开发《冰雪奇缘》景观将是另一个合乎逻辑的步骤。出自罗伯特?洛佩兹和克里斯汀?安德森-洛佩兹之手的电影音乐也非常适合在百老汇演出。就以我们家为例。拜我的女儿所赐，这部电影的歌曲，比如《随它去》(Let It Go)和《你想堆雪人吗？》(Do You Want To Build
In his interview with Fortune, Iger confirmed for the first time that Disney is in discussions to develop a show, though there is no set time frame. "We're not demanding speed," he says. "We're demanding excellence."
What this means for morale, says Iger, is harder to quantify, but also important. Disney Animation is no longer the frumpy second fiddle to Pixar. "I was very lucky that I came into an environment where the number one creative process is the story," Lee says. "It was like a startup because of this creative freedom and this energy." Although the impact of one film won't rock Disney's gargantuan bottom line -- especially since ESPN contributes so much of the profit -- animation is, and will always be, the emotional core of the business. Says Iger: "If you think long term about what Disney is and the success and the vitality of the brand, this is a very, very important event." Is it me, or is it getting warm in here?