(CNN) – Disney princesses are trading in their ball gowns and crowns for sturdy boots, and teaching millions of girls and boys around the globe that being a powerful, strong and courageous girl is the new version of a modern day Disney princess.
With 22 live action movies in the works, Disney is recognizing the need to modernize the old-fashioned “damsel in distress” and use their movies as a platform to empower the next generation of young women, showing fans that not every happy ending needs a prince charming.
Snow White pined for her elusive prince in the early days of Disney. Today there’s a new breed of heroine, out to overturn all the stereotypes.
Princesses have always been royalty at Disney, winning the hearts of millions for decades, but now Disney is aiming to both empower and inspire the next group of young women.
Chloe Melas, CNNMoney Entertainment Reporter, said, “These Disney princesses are not just wearing ball gowns, they’re getting down and dirty and they’re fighting. And they’re speaking their minds and it’s incredibly powerful especially for this young audiences to see that.”
Disney has every incentive to keep their princess franchise humming.
Frozen, which features two strong heroines, is the best performing animated movie in Disney history, taking in over $1.25 billion worldwide, and with just a few weeks in theaters, Beauty and the Beast has already earned more than $700 million.
Brian Lowery, CNN Movie Critic, said, “I think they’ve been smart enough to recognize that they needed to evolve to suit the times and they couldn’t be mired in the sort of someday my prince will come mentality.”
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.
Watson said, “In Autumm she is actually an activist within her own community. She is teaching other young girls to read.”
Disney’s effort to freshen up its catalog is just beginning, with its new films blending live action and cutting edge animation.
Melas added, “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.”
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.