What makes the format of a musical well suited for the Disney princess movies? Is this simply a case of repeating a template that was started with Snow White, or is there some specific artistic/business reason why this is still the preferred format? If there is a specific reason why this format is chosen why don't other studios produce more musicals? It seems like studios are good at recognizing and copying templates so I would expect there to be more musicals released if it was a winning format.

  • 1
    They aren't. Brave wasn't a musical. Merida is a Disney Princess.
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:22
  • @Catija I haven't seen it for quite a while but a quick search shows featured songs sung that advance the plot
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:26
  • 2
    Merida is the exception. She's more Pixar than Disney. Disney didn't produce it, just released it.
    – cde
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 1:06

3 Answers 3


A winning format requires a good script, making it more complicated would be adding songs and lyrics - for a while Disney had the best writing team available and won oscar after oscar for best original song. My theory to this question is that songs are added to the movies because the stories are pretty boring (for children) without the songs, and in some cases pretty short. I mean how long is beauty and the beast if you don't have the musical interludes (sorry, still the best disney movie ever)

I think also it is a factor of time/place - in the 80s/90s they made a lot more musicals because they WERE successful - they don't make as many now (I'd wager Disney releases much more 'non musical animated films' just from disney, not pixar, than musical ones these days), just like hand drawn animation (sadly) is a dying art, musicals come and go. Animated films also take a while to make so the impact of a film like frozen could take years to be felt on screen


It's mostly just the Disney style. Disney makes more animated movies than just the princess ones. A few examples:

  • Pinnochio has songs and no princesses.
  • The Jungle Book has songs and no princesses (except for that human girl at the end who doesn't speak/sing on screen).
  • Peter Pan has songs, but Tinkerbell (not a princess), Nana (a dog,) and Tiger Lily (sort of a princess) never speak or sing. Wendy (not an actual princess) is the only female-presenting character who sings, although her mother does speak.
  • Jasmine, who's an actual princess, doesn't have any songs of her own in Alladin--just a duet with Aladdin.

It's mostly for marketing. Children (and people of all ages) like music. Also, music often helps people memorize things. Memorable songs help to make the films more appealing, and thus, more financially successful. The same for the merchandise.

  • Why don't we have more musicals if this format is a broad winner?
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:27
  • Because it's not the only money-making format. Hindi films are largely musicals, but not all of them are. Dreamworks is a highly successful producer of animated films, but their films don't seem to be as merchandised as Disney's. Nor are they as often musicals. But Dreamworks still turns a profit.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 14:34

Many of these movies have children as a main target audience. Children like to sing or hear singing when they are being entertained. Sesame Street used that to great effect. And I am sure there are other children's programs that choose that format to keep children's attention.

  • Then why aren't all kid movies musicals?
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:25
  • Artists don't follow all the rules all the time.
    – John
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 4:17

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