Earlier this month, BabyCentre, a popular parenting Web site, released its mid-year report on the top hundred names this year chosen by its members in the U.K.* Usually, the popularity of names stays roughly the same from one year to the next.
But, this year, a name jumped two hundred and forty-three slots, into eighty-eighth place: Elsa. As in Elsa from a recent Disney film you may or may not have heard of, “Frozen.” Since its release, “Frozen” has earned $1.2 billion worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time and by far the highest-grossing animation. That’s not to mention two Academy Awards, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a soundtrack that’s garnered more than a million album sales and seven million Spotify streams, official YouTube video views in the hundreds of millions, and a DVD that became Amazon’s best-selling children’s film of all time based on advance orders alone.
The film’s success transcends the commercial realm. It’s on the streets in the guise of little girls (and boys) belting at the top of their lungs. (The wait time recently at Disney World to meet Elsa: five hours.) “Frozen” birthday parties, high-school boys leading “Let It Go” choruses, college students arranging movie nights. Adults, too, have been hit hard—many of them without children of their own to spur them on.
“Frozen” has a Twitter hashtag that spans all age groups—#TheColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway—and fan videos that include adolescents and adults along with toddlers and teenyboppers. Jennifer Lee, one of the film’s directors, has documented “Let It Go” interpretations that touch on autism, cancer, and divorce.
Even people who haven’t seen the film feel its constant presence. “I haven’t seen it but I know all the songs,” Molly Webster, a producer at Radiolab, told me. How? “There isn’t a single time I’ve walked down the street in N.Y.C. the last two months and some kid isn’t singing it.”
How the Disney Animated Film ‘Frozen’ Took Over the World : The New Yorker