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A Touch of Disney in Black History – The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog Movie Poster

The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is inspired by the 2002 novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, which in turn is based on the German folk tale The Frog Prince as collected by the Brothers Grimm.  The movie centers around Tiana, an African American woman, who is working towards owning her own restaurant in New Orleans.  The Princess and the Frog began production in July 2006, under the title The Frog Princess. It marked Disney’s brief return to traditional animation, as it was the studio’s first traditionally animated film since Home on the Range. The film’s title was changed in May 2007 from The Frog Princess to The Princess and the Frog. The name Maddy was changed to Tiana and the character’s occupation was changed to waitress from chambermaid. Oprah Winfrey was hired as a technical consultant for the film, leading to her taking a voice-acting role in the film as Tiana’s mother, Eudora.

In February 2007, it was reported that Dreamgirls actresses Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose were top contenders for the voice of Tiana.  It was reported Alicia Keys directly contacted then-Walt Disney Studios chairman about voicing the role.  It was later reported that Tyra Banks was being considered for the role. By April 2007, it was confirmed that Anika Noni Rose would be voicing Tiana.

Anika Noni Rose's Disney Legends Plaque
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The Princess and the Frog premiered at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank on November 15, 2009.  I had the opportunity to see this building in person during a studio tour presented by D23.

The Roy E. Disney Animation Building on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank California
PC: EH

On November 25, 2009, there was a limited release in New York City and Los Angeles followed by its release to the public on December 11. It was a qualified success at the box office, but some felt it underperformed Disney’s targets yet finished in first place in North America on its opening weekend and grossed around $271 million worldwide. It received three Oscar nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards: one for Best Animated Feature and two for Best Original Song.

Here is a previous A Touch of Disney in Black History post featuring Anika Noni Rose.

Elantrice H.

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