Olaf, the friendly snowman from Disney’s riotously successful film Frozen, may enjoy warm hugs, but the character didn’t receive many after audiences were forced to watch his 22-minute standalone film ahead of new Disney-Pixar film Coco.
Disney has stopped showing the film to Coco ticket holders after a significant backlash. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure has been the much-hyped second offering from the team behind Frozen, who is working on a feature-length sequel to the highest-grossing animated film of all time to be released in 2019.
While it is traditional for the studio to run a short film unrelated to the main feature – some of Disney-Pixar’s best work has been found in shorts such as Lava, ahead of Inside Out, Sanjay’s Super Team, which ran ahead of The Good Dinosaur, or Finding Dory’s Piper – they are usually around five minutes long, and totally unrelated to other projects Disney is working on.
The length of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, meanwhile, means that family audiences are often waiting up to 40 minutes – including adverts – before the opening credits of Coco, which is inspired by the Mexican celebration of Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure also proved controversial because some theatergoers felt they were being subject to an overly long advert for another Disney franchise: Frozen.
Disney claims that it was always their intention to run Olaf’s Frozen Adventure for a limited time in theaters, with the run ending on December 12. A representative told Entertainment Weekly: “This was always promoted as a limited run so it’s not really a story – the end of our Olaf theatrical play is coming next week.”
Disney have told theaters that the extra 22 minutes freed up before each screening of Coco should be put towards extra Coco screenings.