The Snow Queen (2012 film)

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The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVladlen Barbe
Maxim Sveshnikov
Produced byTimur Bekmambetov
Alexander Ligaiy
Yuri Moskvin
Sergey Rappoport
Written byHans Christian Andersen (story)
Vladlen Barbe
Vadim Sveshnikov
Maxim Sveshnikov
Based onThe Snow Queen
by Hans Christian Andersen
StarringAnna Shurochkina[1]
Ivan Okhlobystin
Yuri Stoyanov
Lyudmila Artemyeva
Dmitry Nagiev
Music byBrainstorm (Prāta Vētra)
Mark Willott
Edited byJonathan Abelardo
Vitaliy Konovalov
Anton Maslennikov
Mark Mercado
Ivan Titov
Denis Vakulenko
Distributed byInlay Film
Bazelevs Distribution
Vertical Entertainment
(United States)[2]
Universal Studios
Warner Bros.
Release date
  • 31 December 2012 (2012-12-31) (Russia)
  • 3 January 2013 (2013-01-03) (International)
  • 10 October 2013 (2013-10-10) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
Budget$7.0 million[5]
Box office$13.4 million[6]

The Snow Queen (Russian: Снежная королева, Snezhnaya koroleva) is a 2012 Russian 3D computer-animated adventure fantasy comedy family film written by Vadim Sveshnikov and directed by Vladlen Barbe and Maxim Sveshnikov.[7] It was produced by Wizart Animation studio in Voronezh and is loosely based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, co-produced by Moscow's Inlay Film, and distributed by Timur Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs. The movie was edited by Jonathan Abelardo, Vitaliy Konovalov, Anton Maslennikov, Mark Mercado, Ivan Titov and Denis Vakulenko, music composed by Brainstorm (Prāta Vētra) and Mark Willott and also produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Alexander Ligaiy, Yuri Moskvin and Sergey Rappoport. The movie was released on 31 December 2012 in Russia,[8] and internationally on 3 January 2013.[9] In the United States, it was released in video on demand on 10 October 2013,[10] in theaters stateside on 11 October 2013,[11] and DVD on 28 January 2014.[12] The Snow Queen created the world of eternal winter where the polar wind cools human souls and clearness of lines obscure emotions. A girl named Gerda, her pet ferret Luta, and Orm the troll must save her brother Kai and the world.


The Snow Queen covered the world in ice. Only Master Vegard stands in her way, whose mirrors reflect not only appearances but also souls. One day the polar wind takes away Vegard and his wife Una, but they hide their children Gerda and Kai. Years later, the Snow Queen's servile troll Orm (who can shapeshift into a black weasel) locates Kai, who is deemed Vegard's successor, at an orphanage. After a tangle between both siblings and Orm, Kai is abducted by the polar wind to the Snow Queen's palace. Gerda embarks on a journey with Orm and her pet white weasel Luta across the icy lands to rescue her brother.

They first enter a garden dome run by an old lady who seems nice, but her true intentions are to drug and enslave Gerda to grow and sell flowers. Orm and Luta catch wind of the scheme and thwart it, but the lady sends out her carnivorous plant, Ivy, but the trio make their escape. Meanwhile, in the ice palace, Kai arrives and the Snow Queen leads him to her throne room. The Queen's mirror, after examining Kai, reveals that Master Vegard has two heirs. Kai tries to hide the truth, but the Snow Queen reads it in his heart and sees Kai's painting of Gerda.

Gerda thanks Orm for saving her life and they begin to warm up to each other. Then the three stumble into Imana's caves, the birthplace of trolls. Orm briefs about how the trolls' age of peace was tainted by the Snow Queen and turned their clans to fight each other, until only the cowardly Orm survived, and the souls of the trolls remained trapped in the lake Gow. While Gerda and Luta look around, Orm is contacted by the Snow Queen with orders to bring Gerda to her. Orm helps Gerda and Luta cross the evil lake Gow and Gerda avoids its curse, much to Orm's amazement.

Outside the cave, the trio encounter a king on a royal hunt. The king tries to hunt Orm (in weasel form) and Luta, but he bumps into a tree. The trio are escorted to the king's castle. The king has had a trouble in which his children have literally half-shares in his property after the Snow Queen split the castle in half and Queen Anself was lost. The king takes Gerda as his prisoner, until she shows compassion for her brother. The king and his children have an argument and start a fire but Gerda saves them. As a reward the trio are given a sleigh for their journey.

The trio are captured by pirates and taken to their ship, but Gerda is able to persuade them to let them continue their quest, and the captain's daughter gives them a reindeer for the journey. Meanwhile, in the Snow Queen's ice palace, Kai is frozen by the Snow Queen. Gerda meets the Lady of Lapland in a tent, who recounts the Snow Queen's origin. As a girl, Irma, who had a gift of magic, was ostracised and went to Imana's caves where her ill wish upon the people, granted by the lake Gow, turned her into the Snow Queen. The Lady of Lapland grants the trio a snow boat and sends them to the Snow Queen.

Orm tries to protect Gerda and make her change her mind, but Gerda is determined. Inside the ice palace, Gerda finds her brother frozen then the Snow Queen appears. Orm turns down his reward to be free and beseeches the queen to spare Gerda. Since the queen will not listen to reason, Orm ceases to serve her. The Queen summons ice trolls and giants, but Orm transforms into a polar bear to defeat the monsters and allow Gerda to reach the throne room. But both Orm and Luta are cornered by the polar wind.

Gerda finds the queen's mirror and walks through it, entering the mirror realm. The Snow Queen tries to freeze her heart but, guided by the spirits of her family, she regains hope and retaliates with the magic mirror. The Snow Queen's curse is finally broken, Irma is transformed back and Gerda banishes the evil curse from returning. Irma revives Kai, Orm turns back into a troll and Luta wakes him up and the eternal winter is finally ended. With that Gerda, Kai, Orm, Irma and Luta all set off home. And Gerda and Orm finally accept each other as best friends.

During the end credits, there are scenes showing the lives of people they met throughout their journey after the Snow Queen's defeat and started living happily.


Actor Character
Nyusha Gerda
Ivan Okhlobystin Orm
Galina Tyunina Snow Queen, Irma
Dmitry Nagiyev Housemaster
Liza Arzamasova Daughter
Lyudmila Artemyeva Flower Lady
Yuri Stoyanov King
Anna Ardova Robber Hag or
Pirate Boss Lady
Ramilya Iskander Kai
Olga Shorokhova Shopkeeper, Lapp Woman
Mikhail Tikhonov Master Vegard, Prince, Servant
Olga Zubkova Una, Princess, Mirror, Lake Gao
Erin Fitzgerald Luta

English Dubbing[edit]

Actor Character
Jessica Straus Gerda
Doug Erholtz Orm, King, Robbers
Cindy Robinson Snow Queen,
Robber Hag or Pirate Boss Lady
Marianne Miller Kai
Wendee Lee Shopkeeper, Flower Lady, Daughter, Lapp Woman, Irma
Kirk Thornton Housemaster, Servant, Read Head, Robbers
Erin Fitzgerald Luta, Una, Princess, Mirror, Lake Gao
Christopher Smith Master Vegard, Prince, Robbers


The Snow Queen completed production on 22 October 2012. This coincided with the anniversary date of 22 October 1957, the day The Snow Queen by Lev Atamanov was released.[13] Original songs were written and composed by Mark Willott. The official soundtrack was heard in trailers 1 and 3. A Russian music video for the film was made and performed by Nyusha called "This New Year."[14] A track performed by Brainstorm called "Shine Clear" became the theme song in the animated movie The Snow Queen, which premiered on 31 December 2012.[15] Their song got translated into English titled Flashlight, which premiered internationally.[16] The first trailer was released on 27 June 2011,[17] the second trailer on 3 February 2012,[18] the third trailer on 27 February 2012,[19] and the fourth and official trailer on 25 October 2012.[20] The Russian promotional trailer was released on 7 December 2012.[21] The official poster was presented on October 2012.[22] The first four U.S. trailers for The Snow Queen was released in the last week of August 2013 on Vimeo.[23][24][25][26] The official U.S. trailer was released on Deadline Hollywood and YouTube.[11]



The Snow Queen was first presented for international buyers at the AFM (American Film Market) in November 2011. Olga Sinelshchikova, Business Development Director, explained, "At the AFM, we received very positive feedback from buyers from over 20 territories, including USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Korea and China, among others. Due to this fact, we decided to produce a version for international distribution, so this past January we successfully completed the English dubbing with Los Angeles-based production company Verité Films. The dubbing was recorded at Salami Studios with established, veteran animation actors – Cindy Robinson, Doug Erholtz, Kirk Thornton and Wendy Lee – who have more than 200 animated projects in their portfolio. The Snow Queen is now more than ever an international project. We are convinced that this kind of story as well as the stereoscopic 3D technologies have high commercial potential and will attract an extensive audience not only in Russia but worldwide. So we expect to close first deals for this project at the EFM."[27]

Its next presentation was again at the AFM.[28] The AFM screening, which took place on 1 November at 9 am at the AMC Theater on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California, was the first time that buyers got a chance to see the complete film.

Just before the New Year, The Snow Queen has been released for the world distribution. The film was produced at Voronezh animation studio, but at a Hollywood scale. In 3D for $7 million with 1,000 special effects. "We have been working at it for three years. The story is classic, although there are new heroes," Dmitry Kchrustaliov reports in a new way about the old tale.[29]

The Snow Queen returned to the EFM for a 2013 presentation at the Berlin International Film Festival.[30] At EFM, it received massive appraisals from Brazil, South Korea, Israel, Indonesia, and the Middle East for distribution.[31] Rights to Wizart have gone to CCS Media for South Korea, MT Entertainment for Indonesia, PlayArte for Brazil, Film House for Israel, Shooting Stars for the Middle East, Big Sales for Baltic States and Aurora Distribution for the Ukraine.[32]

On 15 April 2013, The Snow Queen on Facebook has confirmed that it will be presented at the Marché du Film in Cannes from 15–26 May 2013.[33] On 25 April 2013, Cartoon Brew has announced that it will be presented at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2013.[34] On 22 May 2013 at the Cannes Film Festival, it is confirmed that Vertical Entertainment will provide the U.S. distribution for The Snow Queen.[35] Plus, it received more international distribution from Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia.[36] It competed at the IX International Animated Films Festival in Varna, Bulgaria. It was presented at their next festival in Denmark called the Buster Copenhagen International Film Festival for Children & Youth, from 5–15 September 2013. It will present at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in late November 2013.[37] On 18 September 2013, it was announced that it will present their next festival at the Gijón International Film Festival in Spain.[38]

In Latvia, it was released on 27 December 2012.[39] In Estonia, it was released on 4 January 2013. In Korea, it was released on 7 February 2013.[40] In Kuwait, it was released on 14 February 2013. In Brazil and Lithuania, it was released on 22 February 2013.[41][42][43] In Israel, it was released on 7 March 2013.[31] In Indonesia, it was released on 13 March 2013.[31] In United Arab Emirates, it was released on 28 March 2013 under Warner Bros.[citation needed] In France, it was released this fall of 2013 under Universal Studios.[3] In Poland, it will be released on 26 December 2013.[44][45] On 15 September 2013, it was confirmed that The Snow Queen will be released in U.S. theaters stateside on 11 October 2013.[11]

Home media[edit]

The Snow Queen, which was successfully launched in the domestic and international release last year, was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Real 3D Blu-ray in Russia. Released by "Misteriya Zvuka" it was released on 31 January 2013. In a deluxe edition of the DVD, it contains both 2D and 3D with 3D glasses attached.[46] It was released on VOD on Thursday, 10 October 2013.[47] The film was released on DVD in the United States on 28 January 2014.


Critical reception[edit]

The Snow Queen received 85% of positive reviews from critics, adults, and their children in Russia.[48] In the United States, it received mixed reviews. JM Willis reviewed that he liked the characters in The Snow Queen, but could not understand why the Snow Queen would fulfill her purpose without a definite reason as well as other plot contrivances. He gave the movie a "B−."[49] Examiner gave it a "D" and criticized that, "A Russian animated version of “The Snow Queen,” which releases to limited theaters on Oct. 11, looks like it belongs with the “Hoodwinked!” films. That’s not meant to be a compliment. The animation looks incredibly cheap and ugly, and it doesn’t help that the film is filled with repeated and unfunny jokes."[50] Another from The Village Voice which said, "A Russian animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, Snow Queen proves both visually cruddy and narratively muddled."[51]

Bleeding Cool summarized the film's strengths and weaknesses with "Seeing as the budget was only around $7 million, this trailer for an animated version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen looks surprisingly well-detailed and nicely lit. The character design is fair too, if rather derivative, but the animation is, shall we say, variable. And the voice work? Shocking."[52]

Mike McGranaghan for The Aisle Seat commented that "there's nothing inherently wrong with Snow Queen. It's a pleasant enough movie with some nice visuals... That said, the problem faced by the movie is that, while it's not bad, it's also simply not good enough." In particular the review took issue with the plot structure stating "the story is kind of disjointed... These moments feel more like a set of ideas than an actual plot, however. Never are they substantially integrated into the main idea of the movie", concluding finally that "Compared to [big name American animated films], Snow Queen is an also-ran."[53]

As well as the plot, others took issue with the film's character development: "My biggest complaint about the film is that it's rather stiff and simply doesn't flow well. I don't mean the pacing, in that regard it's just fine... but aside from brief moments it just doesn't come alive. Gerda doesn't grow as a character or seem to come to a better understanding of the world around her, Kai isn't exactly in a position to change, and I actually liked the snow queen's part of the story until they shoehorn in a moral at the last minute... But they didn't and now it makes the characters feel even more two-dimensional than they already did. Gerda doesn't know Kai long enough to make her quest understandable and every other character she meets is on screen so briefly that it feels more like a set of passing encounters instead of the meaningful meetings you find in fairy tales."[54]

Many reviewers also drew comparisons between it and the soon after released Walt Disney Animation Studios feature Frozen, with one commentator for Indiewire remarking "The cold war with Russia is back - but this time it's over our Frozen flick versus their Frozen flick."[55] Cartoon Brew commented that the film was more authentic to Hans Christian Andersen's original story than Disney's version, as well as referring to the original 1957 Soviet version;[56] even so other reviewers described its similarities to the original fable as merely in terms of framework rather than substance.[57] The Guardian concluded on the film and its sequel that "both films, rather obviously, are rather in the shadow cast by Frozen, but this is cheerful enough, with a wacky troll, a sinister ice queen, and feisty girl-hero named Gerda. There’s a frenetic, eye-popping quality to the visuals that forestalls the kind of emotional engagement Disney can offer, but there is some entertainment to be had here."[58]

Other reviewers instead focused more on its foreign nature to Western audiences, with one commenting "Since the film was written by a Russian, originally voice acted by Russians, and based on a folk tale from Denmark, a country with strong historic ties to Russia, it’s safe to say that the film is about as un-American as you can get within the terms of modern animation. You won’t find characters bursting into song every two minutes and although there is the obligatory In fact, in places it’s quite scary and dark."[59]

Jennie Kermode for Eye for Film complimented the film's appropriateness for children, remarking that the film's "esoteric scenarios may not make much sense to adults but they're conveyed with a sincerity that kids will find appealing. They're all very child centered and well paced. Threats seem credible without being too scary for sensitive kids and the humour is well balanced. Though the villain isn't particularly charismatic, her backstory goes some way towards justifying this and making her interesting in other ways."[60]

The English dubbing was also criticized and might have influenced the humour and reception of the characters in the film, with The Hollywood Reporter remarking that: "Dubbed with American voices sporting a variety of jarring accents, the film features the sort of broad, vulgar humor—it’s not long before the first fart joke—presumably intended to amuse undiscriminating small fry. Unfortunately, none of the characters,--whether human, fantastical, or anthropomorphically animal—prove remotely engaging.".[61]

Box office[edit]

On 6 January 2013, The Snow Queen flopped at the Russian box office which made only $5.16 million in the first week.[62] But on 31 January 2013, it was considered a box office success as it had drawn 1.3 million viewers.[48] It grossed $7,580,435 at the Russian box office.[63] On 1 February 2013, it grossed $8.8 million.[64] On 11 February 2013 in Korea, it grossed $525,000 and took fifth place at the box office.[65] On 15 February 2013 in Korea, it grossed $1.5 million at the box office.[66] As of today, The Snow Queen made $14 million total at the box office. The profit was half the budget they have spent.[67]


The Snow Queen won the award for "Best Animated Picture" in the "Reflection" festival.[68] It won a Grand Prix at the National Festival of Visual Arts in New Jersey and best animated feature in the 2012 Festival of Animated Films in Sudale.[69] It won the Grand Prix at the Moscow Film Festival for best Animated Feature Film.[70]


After Wizart's success for The Snow Queen at the AFM, they have confirmed to produce a theatrical sequel titled The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King [71] The sequel tells about how Kai and Gerda help Orm the troll save his people from the curse of the titular villain.[72] The voice cast for Snow Queen 2 included Sean Bean as General Arrog, Sharlto Copley, as troll Orm, Bella Thorne as Gerda and Isabelle Fuhrman as Alfida.[73] It grossed $11 million at the box office.[73]

A third installment, titled The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice, was released on December 29, 2016.[74]

A fourth installment, titled The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands, was released on January 1st, 2019.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ В Воронеже за $7 миллионов рисуют 3D-мультик про задиристую Герду, Komsomolskaya Pravda report
  2. ^ Cannes: Vertical Entertainment Snags 3D Animation The Snow Queen
  3. ^ a b SPECIAL Annecy, The Snow Queen (4/5)
  5. ^ Voronezh “The Snow Queen 3” becomes most expensive Russian cartoon in 2016 - RIA Voronezh, 13 December 2017
  6. ^ Snezhnaya koroleva (The Snow Queen) // Box Office Mojo
  8. ^ 89-й Российский Международный Кинорынок: Предварительная программа; Показ анимационного фильма «Снежная Королева», the Snow Queen was shown in the 89th Russian International Film Market 27 November 2012.
  9. ^ Finally "The Snow Queen" is completed!, official report,
  10. ^ SNOW QUEEN - Exclusive Artwork Premiere
  11. ^ a b c "Hot Trailer: Russian 3D Animation The Snow Queen". Deadline Hollywood.
  12. ^ Snow Queen in
  13. ^ Wow
  14. ^ Nyusha - "This New Year" (The Snow Queen Music Video) in YouTube
  15. ^ "Brainstorm" ieskaņojusi cartoon "The Snow Queen In 3D" title track
  16. ^ Flashlight, English Track for The Snow Queen
  17. ^ PREMIERE: "The Snow Queen" Trailer 1 on YouTube
  18. ^ "The Snow Queen" Trailer 2 on YouTube
  19. ^ "The Snow Queen" Trailer 3 in YouTube
  20. ^ OFFICIAL: "The Snow Queen" Trailer 4 in YouTube
  21. ^ "The Snow Queen" Promotional Trailer on YouTube
  22. ^ Wizart releases new pics, trailer for Snow Queen, Animation Magazine
  23. ^ SnowQueen 1080 TrailerCutdown V3REV 081613
  24. ^ SnowQueen TV20 TrailerCutdown V2 082613
  25. ^ SnowQueen TV10 TrailerCutdown V2 082613
  26. ^ SnowQueen TV30 TrailerCutdown V1ALT 082313
  27. ^ Wizart Brings ‘The Snow Queen’ to EFM
  28. ^ Check Out a Trailer For The Snow Queen
  29. ^ The Russian premiere of the animated film "The Snow Queen" In Moscow
  30. ^ Exhibitor's List EFM 2013/
  31. ^ a b c Cartoon "The Snow Queen" will be shown in Brazil and the Middle East
  32. ^ Wizart enchants buyers with Snow Queen
  33. ^ Снежная Королева / The Snow Queen in Facebook
  34. ^ Annecy Announces 23 Animated Features for 2013 Festival in Cartoon Brew
  35. ^ Vertical finds The Snow Queen
  36. ^ Wizart Animation storms Cannes
  37. ^ At the film festival at home Andersen "The Snow Queen", taken Voronezhtsev will show five times
  38. ^ Vor animators show "The Snow Queen" in Spain
  39. ^ The result of an animated film with "brainstorming" music
  40. ^ Park Bo Young, Lee Su Geun Record for ‘Snow Queen’
  41. ^ The Snow Queen | Playarte announces launch Russian animation in 2013
  42. ^ Animation 'Frosty The Kingdom' debuts in theaters on February Brazilians
  43. ^ Snow Queen 2012 Trailer dubliuotas Lietuviškai on YouTube
  44. ^ Snow Queen (2012) Release Info in IMDb
  45. ^ ANIMATOR. Gerda and Kai in a computer game
  46. ^ Release of "The Snow Queen" on DVD and Blu-Ray in Russia
  47. ^ The Snow Queen | iN DEMAND
  48. ^ a b In the "Snow Queen" -2 remain only the best characters
  49. ^ Snow Queen Movie Review
  50. ^ ‘The Snow Queen’ review: Don’t drink that potion; you’ll fart incessantly (Video) in
  51. ^ The Unintelligible and Underwhelmingly Animated Russian Adaptation of Snow Queen in The Village Voice
  52. ^ Before Disney’s Frozen, A Russian Snow Queen, Bleeding Cool (article by Brendon Connelly), 29 February 2012
  53. ^ The Snow Queen, The Aisle Seat (article by Mike McGranaghan)
  54. ^ Movie Review: The Snow Queen, Narrative Investigations, 23 February 2014
  55. ^ Entertainment One Picks Up North American Rights for Russia's "Snow Queen 2", Indiewire (article by Jerry Beck), 14 April 2015 at 6:00AM
  56. ^ The Russian "Snow Queen" Will Open This Friday, Cartoon Brew (article by Amid Amidi), 7 October 2013, 6:04 AM]
  57. ^ Family Movie Review: The Snow Queen (PG), Popcorn Parents, 31 January 2014
  58. ^ The Snow Queen: Magic of the Ice Mirror review – frenetic but cheerful, The Guardian (article by Andrew Pulver), Thursday 11 December 2014]
  59. ^ Review: The Snow Queen, Being a Mommy, 30 October 2014
  60. ^ Review: The Snow Queen, Eye for Film (article by Jennie Kermode), 15 September 2013
  61. ^ Snow Queen: Film Review, The Hollywood Reporter (article by Frank Scheck), 14 October 2013
  62. ^ Why 3D cartoon Snow Queen flopped at the box office?
  63. ^ Cartoon created Voronezh, scored at the box office of more than 7.5 million
  64. ^ Wizart Closes New Sales for The Snow Queen
  65. ^ "The Snow Queen" is in international distribution
  66. ^ Went to Berlin. Voronezh 3D-animation in the world rolled out
  67. ^ Voronezh studio Wizart animation release a continuation of the "Snow Queen," which grossed $ 14 million
  68. ^ Mobile Uploads by Wizart Animation in Facebook
  69. ^ Voronezh cartoon "The Snow Queen" will present at the International Festival of Animated Film in Bulgaria
  70. ^ Voronezh animation film "Snow Queen" won the Grand Prix at the Moscow Film Festival
  72. ^ 89th Film Market: Again Timur again blizzard
  73. ^ a b Nick Holdsworth (13 May 2015). "Russia's Animated 'Snow Queen' to Get Third Installment (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  74. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (22 November 2016). "Wizart Thaws Out New 'Snow Queen 3′ Trailer". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 29 December 2016.

External links[edit]