If you haven’t seen Walt Disney Co.’s animated blockbuster “Frozen” by now, you’ve probably heard about it.
It has done nearly $1.3 billion in box office worldwide and sold more than 3.2 million copies of its soundtrack. Countless young girls went trick-or-treating this Halloween dressed up as the film’s popular Princess Elsa character.
Those numbers are impressive, but consider that more than 4 million daily active users have spent more time playing a mobile game based on “Frozen” than they have watching the 102-minute film.
That sort of immersion is prompting studios to turn their attention to mobile initiatives not only to promote films but to generate additional revenue. What’s more, mobile devices are evolving into the primary way fans interact with their favorite entertainment brands – and the means by which people hear about them in the first place.
“We really feel that mobile can be a fantastic platform for us and be the tip of the spear for some of these products coming out over the next few years,” said Scott Humphries, an executive producer at Disney Interactive who oversaw production of the game, Frozen Free Fall.
Though company officials wouldn’t comment on specific numbers related to mobile and interactive products, in its annual report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 27, Disney said 2014 revenue derived from games exceeded $1 billion, a 30 percent increase from the year earlier.
That jump came thanks to a 24 percent spike in console game sales, but also a 10 percent increase in revenue derived from social and mobile games.
“The increase in social/mobile games revenue was driven by performance of Tsum Tsum and Frozen Free Fall,” the annual report said.
The Frozen Free Fall app is free to download and play, but users can pay from 99 cents to $3 each for virtual items that enhance game play and allow them to unlock levels.
Disney also released a nearly identical game in conjunction with the release of “Maleficent” earlier this year.
“Mobile has now become a much more important part of the mix than it was ever before,” said Andrew Stalbow, co-founder and chief executive of Seriously Digital Entertainment, a mobile game studio in Santa Monica. Stalbow launched Seriously after stints as senior vice president for mobile at Fox Digital Entertainment, a division of 21st Century Fox, and Espoo, Finland’s Rovio Entertainment Ltd., maker of the wildly successful Angry Birds game.
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