Lilo & Stitch director was frustrated by Frozen sisterhood praise: “We did that!”

It’s been 20 years since Lilo & Stitch was released in cinemas. However, the movie’s co-director recalls feeling frustrated when people claimed 2013’s Frozen was the first Disney movie to prioritize sisterhood over romance.  

“To be clear, I think Frozen’s great,” Chris Sanders told The New York Times (opens in new tab). “But it was a little bit frustrating for me because people were like, ‘Finally, a nonromantic relationship with these two girls,’ and I thought, ‘We did that! That has absolutely been done before.'”

The animated movie follows Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase), an eccentric six-year-old girl being raised in Hawaii by her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) after their parents die in a car crash. Lilo adopts Stitch, the result of an illegal genetic experiment with the ability to cause unending chaos, thinking that he’s a dog. A key theme of the movie is the Hawaiian concept of ‘ohana’, or family. 

“When the film came out, that’s what a lot of critics talked about,” producer Clark Spencer said of the movie’s family dynamics. “Those moments that were based in reality in a way that people could see themselves in, and it didn’t feel like they were cartoon characters.”

Frozen is also a movie about two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell). Released 11 years after Lilo & Stitch, it follows the estranged pair as they reunite and rebuild their childhood bond after Elsa loses control of her magical powers. Unlike Lilo & Stitch, Frozen does have a romantic subplot. 

Both Lilo & Stitch and Frozen are available to stream on Disney Plus. For more viewing inspiration, check out our picks of the other best movies on Disney Plus that you can stream right now.

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