Disney’s Encanto has done wonderfully since its release date and though the music plays a large role in that, there is also a different reason behind the animation’s huge success. The light-hearted fantasy flick, not only found a younger audience, which it was geared for, but also captivated older generations with its relatability, representation, and cultural celebration.
Last week, the movie’s most popular song (We Don’t Talk About Bruno, about the main character’s ostracized uncle) reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is the best performance from a Disney animated film in more than two decades. We Don’t Talk About Bruno bumped Adele’s 30 out of a six-week run at the top and even beat out new music by The Weeknd. Encanto album is also the first movie soundtrack to hit No. 1 since 2019 with six other songs from the movie currently on Billboard’s top 100 list. With 69.3 million streams the voices of the characters singing, Gaitán and Castillo became the first artists from Colombia to top the Global 200.
Josanne Buchanan, a cultural consultant at Disney, Nickelodeon and Netflix, said “celebration also helps the movie and its songs feel relevant and valuable to adults. Hearing songs with such obvious influence from and respect for Latin culture helps them transcend any single demographic.” Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s the success of the movie’s soundtrack is due to representation, and the focus on family.
The social platform TikTok, which has become somewhat of a leader in the music world and in showcasing up and coming artists, also played a huge role in the popularity of the soundtrack. With talented young artists creating covers, dances, and remakes of the movie’s songs, internet communities far and wide grew a love and attachment for the Madrigals. “With the development of virtual communities … we’re seeing that cartoon characters, animated characters, are not just for children,” Buchanan said. “They are something that anyone can enjoy and learn from.”