I only know of a few Disney movies that center the story on a male royal lead:

  • Robin Hood (sort of counts?)

  • Hercules

  • Aladdin

  • The Lion King

  • Atlantis (sort of?)

I feel like it's been a long time since we've had a new one, too. Does anyone know why or have good theories as to why there are so many more Disney princesses than there are Disney princes?

The last one I see is Atlantis in 2001 if you count that. I sort of do. And then Hercules in 1997.

  • 3
    Aladdin counts about as much as Robin Hood for being royal. He was an orphaned street thief. Atlantis he wasn't royal either. As far as male leads (either overtly or anthropomorphically), there are a lot of Disney animations with male leads. Monsters Inc, Monsters U, Wreck it Ralph, Up, Toy Story 1/2/3, Cars 1/2, etc.
    – JohnP
    Apr 17, 2014 at 18:29
  • 1
    Haha, somebody tasted blood from the "Hot Questions"-induced success of "this other Disney question"? But honestly, they're both good questions and it's always good to see good questions inspire other good questions. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 17, 2014 at 18:45
  • 1
    @meer2kat Well, it was definitely a very good question. But I'd still say that fast of a success (and the resulting good answers) was to a large degree due to the hot question status (and the fact that it didn't need any specialized pre-knowledge, since we all know Disney movies). For example I don't think Eric Lippert would actually have known about this question to post his excellent answer otherwise. But it certainly was the right question to be marked as hot (well, after all hotness isn't decided out of nothing), in contrast to some stupid ID-question.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:13
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    @meer2kat - Woah! You got Eric Lippert to answer your very first question! I'm jealous :) Apr 17, 2014 at 22:19
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    @SystemDown - I a pretty sure he is male. I agree there are no reproductive parts but "he" is clearly trying to serenade a female robot whose name is not even subtle while giving away her gender. I am assuming this is for a platonic relationship but rule34 would prove me wrong.
    – Suraj
    Apr 25, 2014 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


I would venture to guess that it's due to marketing. Being a princess is a very common fantasy among young girls that probably predates the Disney Princesses franchise. The combination of romance and beautiful dresses has a big appeal to that demographic.

On the flip side we have the male counterpart: the prince. For the young girl demographic the prince's appeal is as the princess's consort. An important part of the story, but not the main focus. Now we go to the other demographic, young boys. For the most part what young boys want in a male lead (basically what they want to become when they grow up) is a dashing warrior figure. The accompaniment of things like royal heritage and dress isn't as important as the sense of adventure and rebelliousness he brings. So a male lead being a prince is not important. As you've noted in the examples you've supplied most of them are only superficially royal.

There's also the (perceived) boy-only stigma that the term "princess" brings. The Rapunzel movie was renamed "Tangled" without any reference to her being a princess in an effort to attract the young boy demographic. I suspect it's the same reason why the US trailer (and other marketing material) for Frozen put less emphasis on the royal sisters and gives more time to male characters such as Olaf.

So for pure marketing purposes movies with a female lead get spinned as princess stories, and stories with a male lead tend not to do that.

  • Do you have a source for the marketing slant on Tangled? Or is that supposition? (Note: Not a criticism, I'm curious).
    – JohnP
    Apr 17, 2014 at 18:31
  • @JohnP - Added link Apr 17, 2014 at 18:35
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    +1: I'd heard about the Tangled renaming issue before. It definitely seems to be targeted towards younger girls. I know as a former teacher, when we got to the end of term and watched videos in class, a lot of the boys got huffy at having to watch anything Disney related. They often ended up liking the movies, but were initially put off as they were seen as girly. Apr 17, 2014 at 18:41

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