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Disney Is Making Sequels to Its Biggest Animated Successes Frozen 4 and Other Sequels May Emulate Star Wars and Marvel Mistakes Disney May Become Too Dependent on “Safe” Sequels Disney’s Sequel Success Must Lay the Groundwork for Original Movies


Frozen 4 and other Disney sequels are on the way, which could be a problem. These Disney sequels could be seen as “cash grabs” that will also cause brand oversaturation, much like what’s happened with the MCU and Star Wars. The movies’ success will hopefully restore Disney’s former luster and allow for more original content.

The Frozen movie series is set to see its winter last even longer than expected, with Frozen III just one upcoming project that fans can look forward to. Despite the fact that the third movie hasn’t come out yet, it’s been revealed that work on Frozen IV has already begun. This is only one of multiple Disney and Pixar sequels coming down the pipeline, and the frequency with which they’re releasing is somewhat troubling.

In the past few years, Disney as a whole has not quite been firing on cylinders, and this is reflected in both the critical reception of certain projects and their financial profits. Other brands under the Disney umbrella have been pushed through numerous projects in a short time span, and this is now seeing diminishing returns. The same fate may now befall even Disney’s most successful animated properties, which is why relying on these seeming “sure things” might not be a dependable business plan.

Disney Is Making Sequels to Its Biggest Animated Successes

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Frozen II came out in 2019, with the movie’s release being six years after its predecessor. Conversely, there will be the same gap between the second and third movies, as Frozen III is currently set to come out in 2025. Thus, it’s likely that the now tentatively revealed fourth movie will have a similar fate, though due to its already being worked on, it may come out much sooner. Frozen III isn’t the only Disney or Pixar property that’s now primed for sequels, with the upcoming Inside Out 2 hitting theaters in 2024. Conversely, there will also be more sequels for the Toy Story franchise and a follow-up to Zootopia.

In the case of some of these movies, many fans had been clamoring for them for years. At the same time, movies such as Toy Story 5 are a lot harder to parse in the marketplace. Even longtime fans of Pixar questioned the need for Toy Story 4 due to how the third movie ended, and it’s arguable that the particularly poor market reception to the 2022 spinoff Lightyear may have actually damaged the property. Thus, some see the most recent entry as a “cash grab,” and that’s definitely an accusation that can be thrown toward all the other upcoming sequels. Ironically, this is the same issue that’s currently facing two other brands owned by Disney.

Frozen 4 and Other Sequels May Emulate Star Wars and Marvel Mistakes

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In the past few years, there’s been more growth in Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe projects than ever, namely due to the Disney+ streaming service. While most consumers might not immediately associate these franchises with Disney, they are owned by the company. In many ways, they were meant to represent the “boys” corner of the market, whereas Disney’s more mainstream projects — namely various Disney Princess movies — were on the “girls” side of the equation. On paper, this sounded like a perfect way to cater to various demographics. Unfortunately, the golden geese have been cooked, with both Marvel and Star Wars being weaker than they were just a few years prior.

There hasn’t been a theatrical Star Wars project since 2019’s Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, and while there have been multiple TV shows on Disney+, not all have been hits. The most successful series has been The Mandalorian, but The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, the acclaimed series Andor and arguably even Ahsoka saw diminishing ratings. On the Marvel Cinematic Universe front, there have been several TV shows and movies since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. While many of them have been successful in some way, most have failed to reach the same heights as the previous phases of the MCU.

In the case of some Marvel movies’ financial performance, at least a few could possibly be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the globe. This isn’t a catch-all explanation, however, with the recent movie The Marvels showcasing that there’s particularly low interest in certain MCU characters and properties. The brand as a whole has been weakened in the past four years despite it being previously seen as nearly invincible. With Marvel and Star Wars, the consensus even among fans is that there’s simply too much content at once.

It makes the story hard to follow while slowly bleeding away casual audiences. It doesn’t help that so many of these works are disappointing in some way, and the result is that quantity has dramatically increased, while quality has done quite the opposite. Pushing too much product at once can be detrimental even if it’s well-received, so it’s no wonder these brands are suffering under the weight of a deluge of content.

Disney May Become Too Dependent on “Safe” Sequels

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There’s a possibility that the previously mentioned upcoming sequels such as Frozen III turn out great. If so, these fairly anticipated projects may help to turn the tide of Disney’s current brand image. This would require several such hits in order to rebuild brand confidence and consumer trust, but it’s the type of reversal that the company desperately needs right now. Even then, there’s a risk in simply trying to recapture lightning in a bottle multiple times through even more sequels and spinoffs. Not only does this repeat the issue with Marvel and Star Wars, but it puts too many eggs in the same basket.

If Frozen III and other movies hit big as their predecessors did, the internal response from Disney might be to simply greenlight more sequels. The threat in this case would be the quick oversaturation of said brands, not to mention the risk that further sequels would simply be “cash grabs” or movies of lesser quality. Conversely, if those sequels begin showing cracks in the formula, it once again puts Disney and Pixar in a situation where they have few bankable intellectual properties. At the same time, there’s no denying that the upcoming initial slate of sequels might be the collective company’s best chance at reigniting a fire in audiences, but these projects shouldn’t be the only path forward.

Disney’s Sequel Success Must Lay the Groundwork for Original Movies

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It’s highly likely that Frozen III, Inside Out 2 and the other sequels will be successful in some way. Even then, there should be tempered optimism about how Disney moves forward following that kind of performance. The obvious route might be to make even more sequels for these franchises, especially since Frozen IV is already seemingly a given. This does make sense from a financial point of view, but it’s also logical to use the positive aura gained through these movies to trudge forward with original animated films and franchises. Those kinds of movies might actually be a gamble at the moment, especially considering the more controversial status of Disney nowadays. Getting a more traditional success under the company’s belt is imperative to make those movies viable with the public again, and it’s through these that Disney will find more long-term success.

Disney and Pixar sequels are a short-term endeavor to regain the audience that the company once easily commanded. It’s not a well that can be continually drawn from, however, with new franchises needing to be created that speak to new generations of viewers. After all, Frozen is now a decade old, with many of those who grew up with it as small children now teenagers. For as good as the sequels might be, they simply won’t have the same feeling in the hearts of those who were yet to be born when the original movie came out. New franchises can be the Frozen and Inside Out of their time, but it’s dependent on Disney both laying the positive groundwork and not settling for the “easy success” of sequels. It’s a multi-tiered solution to the problems that the company now faces, but as long as the upcoming sequels pay off in some way, it’s certainly possible for the company to turn things around.


A bastion of family-friendly entertainment, Disney has delivered iconic animated and live-action projects to generations of viewers for a century.

 Disney and Pixar are planning several sequels to beloved movies, but this oversaturation might repeat an issue currently facing Marvel and Star Wars.  Read More