‘Frozen 2’ by Alumna Jennifer Lee '05 Opened Last Month
BY Felix van Kann, December 6, 2019
Elsa and Anna are back! Frozen 2, written and co-directed by alumna and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lee '05 hit theatres worldwide last month on November 22nd and has since developed into a huge success. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Walt Disney Animation's Frozen 2 created a global blizzard in its box office debut, grossing an estimated $130 million in North America and $228.2 million internationally for a worldwide start of $358.2 million.” By now, Variety states “Frozen 2 has earned a mighty $739 million and should become the sixth Disney movie this year to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office.”
Frozen 2 explores the question on everyone’s mind: Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling to her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In the sequel, she must hope they are enough.
Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff have all returned to voice their recognizable Frozen characters. Watch the complete trailer below.
The film received positive reviews from outlets like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and CNN. IndieWire’s Kate Erbland reported: “‘Frozen may have ended with everything in its right place, but Lee and [co-director Chris] Buck’s long-awaited followup makes the case that a sequel was necessary, not because it was demanded, but because Frozen was never the correct end of the story. Loving the characters and themes of Frozen and wanting to see more of them can only naturally lead to Frozen 2, which does away with so many of the happily-ever-after elements of the first film (and finds new, updated ones). By moving the tension between the traditional and the bold to the forefront, Frozen 2 is one of the more daring visions of the future of Disney moviemaking, all bolstered by gorgeous animation and a handful of instant-classic new jams.”
Jennifer Lee entered Columbia University’s graduate Film program in 2001. In 2002, she received the William Goldman Award for excellence in screenwriting and the Kathryn Parlan Hearst Scholarship honoring women screenwriters. Her script Hinged on Stars won top prize at the Columbia University Film Festival, 2004, and launched her career. She graduated in 2005 with an MFA in film, and in 2006 she got her first film option for her script The Way Between. Her next film, The Roundup, was optioned by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way. In 2010, she moved her family across the country to begin work on Wreck-It Ralph for Walt Disney Animation Studios with fellow Columbia graduate Phil Johnston '04. The film went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and won the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Screenplay. As she was finishing her work on Wreck-It Ralph, Lee was tapped to write the screenplay for Disney’s Frozen. The film has earned over one billion dollars at the box office and won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, and two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. Lee co-directed a short film featuring the Frozen characters called Frozen Fever in 2015. Also in 2015 Disney announced that Lee and Buck would co-direct a full length sequel to Frozen.
Lee was one of several Disney writers and directors who received credit for "Creative Leadership" on the 2014 film Big Hero 6 and the 2016 film Moana, and she also received screen credit as one of the writers who developed the story for the 2016 film Zootopia, which won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Critics' Choice Movie Award and Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as receiving a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film.
In June 2018, Lee was named the new head of Walt Disney Animation Studios making her the first woman to ever lead Disney.
She currently lives in Los Angeles with her ten-year-old daughter Agatha.