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Does Celebrity Voice Acting in Animation Boost Box Office Sales?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 30, 2013

Comments (5)

Frozen animated filmIn less than a month, Disney will release its 53rd animated feature film, "Frozen" complete with a celebrity voice cast lead by actress Kristen Bell.

Elements of Frozen were loosely based on a fairy tale written by celebrated Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, a longtime source Disney has used to inspire films such as The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Groove based upon The Emperor's New Clothes, the animated short The Ugly Duckling and now Frozen based on Andersen's The Snow Queen.

There's no doubt that Hans Christian Andersen + Disney = Success. The question I'm asking is, will the fact that Disney has a celebrity voice cast make a significant impact on the number of seats filled on opening weekend?

Have your say in today's VOX Daily!

What are you doing this Thanksgiving?

While most people will congregate around family, food and football, millions of Americans will make their way to their nearest cinema to see Disney's upcoming release, Frozen. Set to open just before winter takes hold, the animated film draws upon a fairy tale called The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, and in typical Disney fashion, a celebrity voice cast stepped up to the mic.

Disney specializes in great storytelling, and with amazing source material to work from, the story itself serves as the main attraction. Let's not forget the celebrity factor though as it does play a role.

It may be said that familiar voices are more easily heard, but when it comes to storytelling and voice acting in particular, a good storyteller is just that...a good storyteller. Your child will not know the difference between a performance by Kristen Bell and the talented workaday voice actor down the street, but for those who keep tabs on such things, the allure of celebrity may influence their viewing choices and help boost box office sales.

What do you think?

Does the voice cast have anything to do with why you see movies at the theatre?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Image via Rotoscopers.com


    This piece addresses the economics of celebrities doing animation, though not specifically box office; I think UCLA's graduate program in the economics of the motion picture industry addresses in depth that question, though I couldn't find the specific research. I can only echo what we mostly know... that the earliest Disney animations with purely voice actors - no celebrities - were their finest work. The trend seems to be part of the larger (ahem) 'culture of celebrity' that's infected popular culture.


    Posted by:
    • Ken Karp
    • October 31, 2013 8:39 AM

      ... Celebrity cartoon casting has been going on for longer than we thought:

      Posted by:

        Unfortunately the movie will "sell" more seats because you'll have celebrities sitting down with the various entertainment shows to promote their new project. Naturally more people will hear about the movie because of this. Though, I don't feel, you get the best quality of voice acting with many of these celebrities. For example, in Epic, Beyonce's ("Queen Tara") delivery was flat. Maybe because I'm in this business, it distracted me from the story and instead I was focused on it not sounding right. Since these animated films go to DVD, where they are played TON by families all over the world, I would much rather have the voices fit the character and sound believable. Studios would do better to leave the voice acting to voice acting professionals.

        Posted by:

          My voice acting coach called it the "Robin Williams Effect" Since Aladdin, Disney and other big box studios will seemingly take celebrity status over voice over experience to try to boost sales. Though it most likely has boosted sales for some productions, it might have kept actors who might have been better fit for the job, out of roles. Granted, Robin Williams is an amazing voice actor, was a leader in the booth during that production and having acting experience only aids in VO work...but sometimes I feel studios should focus more on the voice than the status of the actor.

          Posted by:

            No more than any other film to be honest. Sometimes I chose to see a movie because I like the look of the movie, sometimes it's because I like the look of the casting. I have , however, avoided good looking films because I'm not a fan of the casting.
            Northern Irish voice

            Posted by:

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