Frozen 2, also known as Frozen II, is a 2019 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The 58th animated film produced by the studio, it is the sequel to the 2013 film Frozen and features the return of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and composer Christophe Beck. Lee also returns as screenwriter, penning the screenplay from a story by her, Buck, Marc E. Smith, Anderson-Lopez and Lopez, while Byron Howard executive-produced the film.[a] Veteran voice cast Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Ciarán Hinds return as their previous characters, and are joined by newcomers Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.
Set three years after the events of the first film, the story follows Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven who embark on a journey beyond their kingdom of Arendelle in order to discover the origin of Elsa’s magical powers and save their kingdom after a mysterious voice calls out to Elsa.
Frozen 2 had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on November 7, 2019, and was released widely in the United States by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on November 22, 2019. It has received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, visuals, music and vocal performances, while criticism focused on its screenplay, plot and creative choices.
King Agnarr of Arendelle tells a story to his young children Elsa and Anna, that their grandfather King Runeard, established a treaty with the tribe of Northuldra by building a dam in the Northuldra’s homeland, the Enchanted Forest. However, a fight occurs, resulting in Runeard’s death. The battle enrages the elemental spirits of water, fire, earth and air of the forest. The spirits disappear and a wall of mist encases everyone in the forest. Runeard’s son Prince Agnarr barely escapes with the help of an unknown savior.
Three years after her coronation,[b] Queen Elsa of Arendelle celebrates autumn in the kingdom with her younger sister Princess Anna, Olaf the snowman, Kristoff the kingdom’s ice harvester, and Kristoff’s reindeer Sven. When Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her, she follows it and unintentionally awakens the elemental spirits, which forces everyone in the kingdom to evacuate. Grand Pabbie and the Trolls colony, aware of the situation, arrive to Arendelle and Pabbie informs them that they must set things right by discovering the truth about the kingdom’s past.
Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven embark to the Enchanted Forest, following the mysterious voice. After the mist parts at Elsa’s touch, the air spirit, in the form of a tornado, appears and sweeps everyone in its vortex. Elsa stops it by firing streams of snow, forming a set of ice sculptures. They discover the sculptures are images from their father’s past and that their mother, Queen Iduna, was a Northuldra who saved Agnarr. They encounter the Northuldra and a troop of Arendellian soldiers who are still at conflict with one another. The fire spirit appears, Elsa discovers it to be an agitated magical salamander and calms it down. Elsa and Anna form a truce between the soldiers and the Northuldra by explaining that their mother was Northuldran and their father was Arendellian. Elsa later learns the existence of a fifth spirit who will unite people and the magic of nature.
Elsa continues to head north with Anna and Olaf. They find their parents’ shipwreck and a map with a route to Ahtohallan, a mythical river told by their mother to contain all explanations of the past. Feeling guilty that her parents were lost at sea in search of answers to her magical powers, Elsa decides to travel alone and sends Anna and Olaf away to safety. Elsa encounters and tames Nokk, the water spirit who guards the sea to Ahtohallan. Reaching Ahtohallan, Elsa discovers that the voice was the call of Iduna, and that her powers were a gift from the magic of nature because of Iduna’s selfless act of saving Agnarr, making Elsa the fifth spirit who unites differences. Elsa wields her mother’s mantle and also learns that the dam was built as a ruse to reduce the Northuldra’s resources because of Runeard’s dislike of the tribe’s connection with magic, and that Runeard was the one who initiated the conflict by killing the unarmed leader of the Northuldra. Elsa sends this information to Anna before becoming frozen, having ventured into the most dangerous part of Ahtohallan, which in turn causes Olaf to fade away.
Anna receives Elsa’s message and concludes that the dam must be destroyed for peace to be restored. Anna finds and awakens the sleeping gigantic earth spirits, and lures them towards the dam, which is destroyed by boulders hurled by the giants. Elsa thaws out and returns to Arendelle, stopping a flood from the destroyed dam. As the wall of mist disappears, Elsa reunites with Anna and revives Olaf. Kristoff proposes marriage to Anna, who happily accepts. Elsa explains that she and Anna are now the bridge between the people and the magical spirits. Anna becomes the Queen of Arendelle, while Elsa becomes the protector of the Enchanted Forest who regularly visits Arendelle as peace is restored in all the lands.
In a post-credits scene, Olaf visits the ice palace and tells Marshmallow and the Snowgies about the events of the film.
- Idina Menzel as Elsa, Queen of Arendelle and Anna’s elder sister who possesses magical ice powers
- Kristen Bell as Princess Anna of Arendelle, later Queen of Arendelle, and Elsa’s younger sister
- Hadley Gannaway and Libby Stubenrauch (archive sound) as Young Anna
- Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, an iceman who is Anna’s boyfriend, later fiancé
- Josh Gad as Olaf, a sentient snowman created by Elsa’s magic
- Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Destin Mattias, the leader of a group of soldiers who were trapped in the enchanted forest for over thirty years.
- Evan Rachel Wood as Queen Iduna of Arendelle, the mother of Elsa and Anna, and wife of King Agnarr. Jennifer Lee previously provided her single line in the first film.
- Delaney Rose Stein as Young Iduna
- Alfred Molina as King Agnarr of Arendelle, the father of Elsa and Anna and husband of Iduna. He was previously voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the first film.
- Jackson Stein as Young Agnarr
- Martha Plimpton as Yelana, the leader of the Northuldra tribe.
- Jason Ritter as Ryder, a member of the Northuldra, Honeymaren’s brother who shares Kristoff’s love for reindeer.
- Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren, a member of the Northuldra, Ryder’s sister who wants to bring peace to the enchanted forest.
- Jeremy Sisto as King Runeard of Arendelle, Agnarr’s father and the grandfather of Elsa and Anna.
- Ciarán Hinds as Grand Pabbie, the leader of the Trolls.
Additionally, Alan Tudyk provides voices to a Guard, a Northuldra Leader, and an Arendellian Soldier. Archive sound is used for Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton and Santino Fontana as Hans, a Prince from the Southern Isles who tried to take over Arendelle. Paul Briggs also reprises his role as Marshmallow, a giant snow monster created by Elsa in the film’s post-credits scene. Singer-musician Aurora portrays The Voice, the call sent out by Queen Iduna to lead Elsa to Ahtohallan.
When asked about sequels to the first film, producer Peter Del Vecho said in March 2014 that Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and he “work very, very well together, so I believe we will be developing a new project. But I don’t know what that is right now.” In late April of that year, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn stated that a sequel was not being seriously considered because at that time the studio’s priority was the planned Broadway musical, which also required additional songs to be written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
When asked in May 2014 about a sequel, Disney CEO Bob Iger told host David Faber that Disney would not “mandate a sequel” or “force storytelling”, because to do so would risk creating something not as good as the first film. Iger also expressed the hope that the Frozen franchise “is something that is kind of forever for the company” similar to The Lion King.
In June, Lee confirmed that then-chief creative officer John Lasseter had expressly granted her and Buck the freedom to explore whatever they were “passionate about”: “We don’t know what it is yet … We’re actually going to start from scratch. It’ll be something completely brand new.”
On March 12, 2015, at Disney’s annual meeting of shareholders in San Francisco, Iger, Lasseter, and actor Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf) officially announced a full-length sequel, Frozen 2, was in development at Disney, with Buck and Lee returning as directors and Del Vecho returning as producer. Lasseter said that at Disney Animation, “as with Pixar, when we do a sequel, it is because the filmmakers who created the original have created an idea that is so good that it’s worthy of these characters.” He said that in the case of Frozen, the directors had “come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it, and we’re taking you back to Arendelle.” According to the Los Angeles Times, there was “considerable internal debate” at Disney over whether to proceed with a Frozen sequel at Disney Animation, but the unprecedented success of the first film apparently swayed Disney executives towards making a sequel.
In a September 2017 interview with The Arizona Republic, Menzel confirmed that she would return for her role a couple weeks after completing her concerts tour; she said, “they haven’t even sent me a script”.
Jonathan Groff (the voice of Kristoff) said earlier in July 2017, “I don’t know anything about it yet other than I’m about to start recording my section of it.” On October 11, he confirmed on the British talk show Lorraine that he too had started recording for the sequel the previous month.
In an October 2017 interview with CinemaBlend, Bell said that there will be some new characters too. She further said that the directors and the producers had “taken their trip to Norway” and took “the entire culture in” to make this “fun home movie.” She added that Lee had drafted personal journals in character as Elsa and Anna “for months to try and figure out [what they’d say]”.
In March 2018, Lee said in an interview that she was doing the second draft out of six drafts, which she referred as “six screenings”. In July 2018, it was announced that Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown had entered talks to join the cast in undisclosed roles. In August 2018, Allison Schroeder, the screenwriter of Hidden Figures and Disney’s Christopher Robin, was hired to assist Lee with writing the film’s screenplay after Lee succeeded Lasseter as Disney Animation’s chief creative officer, though only Lee was credited as screenwriter. The first presentation of completed scenes from the movie was shown at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2019. At the Annecy presentation, head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West said that as of mid-June 2019, the film was “still in production, with seven weeks of animation to be completed and 10 weeks of special effects.”
At 2019 D23 Expo, the directors said that the sequel will answer the questions that were left behind by the original film; “Why does Elsa have magical powers”, “Why was Anna born without powers”, “Where were their parents going when their ship sank”, and more will be addressed. It was announced that Brown’s role is a soldier in the Arendelle army who worked for Elsa and Anna’s grandfather King Runeard, and Wood announced that her role would be shown in flashback and that it would help “uncover some mysteries that we didn’t know before”. Additionally, while some fans campaigned for Elsa to receive a female love interest in the film, co-songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez confirmed that Elsa will have no love interest in the movie. During a press release for the film, Lee confirmed that the sequel will not feature elements from Once Upon a Time‘s Frozen storyline, as she “made a point of certain things not to see” when developing the film.
According to co-production designer Lisa Keene, the animators did “a lot of artwork” in order to define the Nokk’s design, while Steve Golberg, the film’s visual effects supervisor said that the Nokk’s animation required collaborations between several animation departments, artist, and technicians, and said that the time to define the Nokk’s design took at least 8 months of the film’s production. The fim’s animation team aimed to gave the Nokk a more stable appearance than the ocean as depicted in Moana. According to effects supervisor Erin Ramos, the Nokk’s liquid-like appearance was developed by the film’s effects team, which he said was “so that [the] Nokk would feel like a strong and stormy creature”. According to Marlon West, the film’s head of character animation, the animators were given “the tools to actually perform with an ultimately invisible rig that resembled a little comet”, as well as old key-framing technology, in order to represent the character of Gale.
To create the wind spirit Gale a new tool called Swoop was invented. This required that four and sometimes five different departments cooperating on the animation of the character, with animators working with real time feedback.
The water simulation was made to be more realistic than in Moana, but some of the elements in the movie were so realistic that it felt inconsistent next to the characters, and so had to be made more stylistic.
According to the film’s head of animation, Tony Smeed, the Earth Giants “had a long rigging process” in order for the characters to move without “[seeing] solid rock penetrating solid rock”, while Marlon West, the film’s head of effects animation, said that the film’s effects team “was to generate rocks that would fall out of the joints as they moved”, though they had to be careful to avoid making the rocks distracting to the audience.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned from the first film to write new songs for the sequel, while Christophe Beck composed the film’s score. The soundtrack was officially released on November 15, a week before the movie’s theatrical release.
Frozen 2 had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on November 7, 2019, and was widely released on November 22, 2019 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was previously set for November 27, 2019. It is set to be released in Australia and New Zealand on November 28, 2019.
Following the success brought by international productions of the first chapter of the series, which led to the release of a complete set album featuring all the official versions of “Let It Go” released at the time, and on the wake of special dubbings released for the movie Moana, which has gathered in the space of two years from its release a Tahitian, a Māori and a Hawaiian version, it was announced that a special Northern Sami dubbing will be released for Frozen 2 with the title Jikŋon 2.
Disney released the first teaser trailer for the film on February 13, 2019. The teaser trailer was viewed 116.4 million times in its first 24 hours, becoming the second most viewed animated film trailer in that time period, surpassing the record of Incredibles 2 (113.6 million views). The second trailer debuted during ABC‘s Good Morning America on June 11, 2019. The third trailer also released on GMA, on September 23. A fourth trailer was released by Disney UK on October 14. UK supermarket chain Iceland promoted the film as part of its 2019 Christmas advertisement, as well as having a new and exclusive short scene made by Walt Disney Animation Studios, showing Olaf and Elsa’s favorite things about Christmas. Menzel, Gad and Groff were also interviewed on a Children in Need edition of The One Show on November 15.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and 21 Bridges, and is projected to gross anywhere from $90–135 million from 4,440 theaters in its opening weekend. It is playing in 2,500 3D theaters, 400 IMAX theaters, 800 premium large format screens, and 235 D-Box/4D enhanced theaters. It earned $41.5 million on its first day, including $8.5 million from Thursday previews, a record for an animated film in November.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 75% based on 204 reviews, with an average rating of 6.68/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “Frozen II can’t quite recapture the showstopping feel of its predecessor, but it remains a dazzling adventure into the unknown.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A–” on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 71% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: “As is often true in animation, Frozen 2 soars highest when it embraces abstraction, as in one number with a pitch-black void that entertainingly evokes Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin.” Writing for MovieWeb, Julian Roman said that the film “is a darker journey, but illuminated with breathtaking animation and stunning action scenes. There’s enough good humor for balance amid an avalanche of new songs.” Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com, gave the film a 3.5 out of 4 stars and said: “Frozen II has an autumnal palette, with russet and gold setting the stage for an unexpectedly elegiac tone in the follow-up to one of Disney’s most beloved animated features.” Ben Travis of Empire Magazine gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars, stating: “The best things about the first film — the characters and music — once again sing in a frequently dazzling if narratively flawed sequel that’s better at being sensory than sense-making.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars, and said: “the delight and dazzle of this frosty follow-up brings it all home in a climax that should have audiences panting for a part III.” Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review of the film, saying: “Frozen 2 has everything you would expect — catchy new songs, more time with easy-to-like characters, striking backdrops, cute little jokes, a voyage of discovery plot and female empowerment galore — except the unexpected.” Kristen Page-Kirby of The Washington Post gave the film a 2 out of 4 stars and wrote: “Yes, “Frozen II is a letdown when compared with the original. But it’s also a lackluster disappointment on its own — a pale shadow of what it could have been. It’s hard to see how the same team who made something so cool in 2013 could deliver something so — there’s no other word for it — lukewarm.” Simran Hans of The Guardian, gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars and said: “The sisters try to heal the sins of the past in a moving follow-up that touches on climate change and has at least one great song.”
- John Lasseter originally acted as the film’s executive producer during its early stages of development, before he left Disney in June 2018. Lee took his place as chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, while Howard replaced him as executive producer.
- As depicted in the 2013 film Frozen.