Disney’s ‘Frozen’ becomes first musical to shutter amid coronavirus


NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 22: Olaf and Greg Hildreth during the Broadway Musical Opening Night Curtain Call for ‘Frozen’ at the St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Walter McBride

Disney‘s stage production of the hit animated film “Frozen” has taken its final bow on Broadway, becoming the first musical to shutter amid the coronavirus pandemic

“Frozen,” which opened in 2018, had its last performance on March 11 at the St. James Theatre in New York City before closing due to social distancing restrictions. The news of its closure comes just days after the trade group Broadway League announced that theaters would remain shuttered through at least Labor Day.

“This difficult decision was made for several reasons but primarily because we believe that three Disney productions will be one too many titles to run successfully in Broadway’s new landscape,” Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a letter to his staff.

Disney has long-standing stage productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” on the Great White Way, which are set to return once theaters are able to reopen. “Frozen” has been the weakest of the three Disney musicals that have been running on Broadway.

“Frozen” cost an estimated $25 million to $30 million to produce and there were high hopes that it would be able to reach the same success as the animated feature. While its first few weeks on Broadway were strong, more than $2 million a week in ticket sales, that has slowed over the last two years. In the weeks before the show closed due to Covid-19 ticket sales were below $1 million.

Since 2018, the show has garnered $155 million in ticket sales, according to Broadway World, which tracks ticket sales data for Broadway shows.

For comparison, “Aladdin” was averaging more than $1 million in the weeks before it closed, and “The Lion King” was averaging around $1.5 million.

Since 2014, “Aladdin” has tallied more than $461.9 million in ticket sales and “The Lion King,” which has been on Broadway since 1997, has sold more than $1.6 billion in tickets.

Sets and costumes from the closed “Frozen” show will be repurposed for international stagings of the musical in London, Sydney, Tokyo and Hamburg, Germany, over the next year.

Disney is still going ahead with a new production of “Beauty and the Beast” headed for the U.S. in 2022, a smaller touring production of “Aladdin,” and is developing two new musical adaptations of “The Jungle Book” and “Hercules” as well as musicals based on “The Princess Bride” and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

Additionally, a new production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Aida” is aiming for a spring 2022 opening in Germany.



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