In a dazzling display of cinematic magic, Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has captivated audiences, dominating the Memorial Day weekend box office and projected to earn a massive $118 million over the four-day holiday period in the US, with $96 million generated during the three-day frame alone.
This outstanding performance secures its place as the fifth-highest Memorial Day opening in history.
The film’s success can be attributed to the unwavering support of devoted fans who fell in love with the animated tale of Ariel when it first graced the silver screen 35 years ago. Moreover, the enduring popularity of The Little Mermaid has resonated with new generations of fans, who have discovered and embraced the beloved story through DVD collections, television broadcasts, and streaming services in recent years.
Tony Chambers, Disney’s head of distribution, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s a classic. When you ask people of my age, both women and men, their favourite animated movies are often The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. This film takes them back to their cherished childhood memories, and it provides the perfect opportunity for them to pass on their love for the movie to the next generation.”
Directed by Rob Marshall, the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid showcases the talents of Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel. Melissa McCarthy delivers a memorable performance as the malevolent sea witch, Ursula, while Jonah Hauer-King portrays the dreamy Prince Eric. The ensemble cast also includes Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, and Daveed Diggs, bringing the beloved characters to life.
The breathtaking visual effects used to recreate Ariel’s underwater realm required a significant investment. With a production budget of $250 million, The Little Mermaid must continue to attract audiences worldwide to ensure a profitable outcome.
Internationally, the film has already grossed $68.3 million across 51 markets.
Analyzing the demographic breakdown of the film’s opening weekend audience in the United States, 68% were female viewers, while 25% fell into the 25 to 34 age range. Children constituted 22% of the crowds that flocked to see the film during its debut weekend.
Disney’s strategy of revitalizing beloved animated properties with live-action adaptations has proved successful once again. Previous ventures such as Aladdin, featuring Will Smith as the Genie, Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson as Belle, and The Lion King, a visual effects spectacle, have demonstrated the audience’s appetite for these reimaginings.