UNITED STATES — Disney princesses are changing from damsels in distress to strong, powerful, and courageous role models.
With 22 live-action movies in the works, Disney is recognizing the need to modernize the old-fashioned princess. As CNN’s Maggie Lake reports, the company wants to use movies as a platform to empower the next generation of young women, showing fans that not every happy ending needs a prince charming.
While Snow White pined for her elusive prince in the early days of Disney, there is now a new breed of heroine, out to overturn all the stereotypes.
Princesses have always been celluloid royalty at Disney, winning the hearts of millions for decades. Today, they are helping to both empower and inspire.
Chloe Melas, a CNN Money entertainment reporter, said, “These Disney princesses are not just wearing ballgowns, they’re getting down and dirty and they’re fighting and they’re speaking their minds, and its incredibly powerful, especially for these young audiences to see that.”
Disney has every incentive to keep their princess franchise humming. Frozen, featuring two strong heroines, is the best-performing animated movie in Disney history, taking in over $1.25 billion worldwide. With just a few weeks in theaters, Beauty and the Beast already has earnings of more than $700 million.
“I think they’ve been smart enough to recognize that they needed to evolve to sort of suit the times and they couldn’t be mired in the sort of ‘someday my prince will come’ mentality,” said CNN movie critic Brian Lowery.
Beauty and the Beast is just the latest film that has changed with the times. Emma Watson, who plays Belle in the latest remake, knew immediately that her character needed a reboot.
“In our film, she is actually an activist within her own community. She is teaching other young girls who are part of the village to read,” said Watson.
Disney’s effort to freshen up its catalog is just beginning, with its new films blending live action and cutting edge animation.
“When you look at their 22 live actions that are in the works, we have several that will feature strong women, like Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Mulan,” said Melas.
Princesses have always been in Disney’s DNA, and the studio wants to preserve its beloved stories for the generations of princesses yet to come.