“The Little Mermaid” Grossed $117.5 Million at US Box Office

Disney’s real-life adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” grossed $117.5 million domestically, marking it as the fifth highest-grossing Memorial Day weekend debut in the record, as per Box Office Mojo’s data.

The film, a remake of Disney’s 1989 animated classic, features Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel. Bailey’s interpretation of the leading role was met with considerable acclaim from reviewers, even though overall, the film received varied opinions.

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes showed only 67% of critics offered a positive review of the movie.

The film was considerably more popular among audience members, with 95% approving it on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB, another platform for audience reviews, however, reported some alterations to its international ratings due to review-bombing.

“The Little Mermaid” remake was embroiled in disputes, primarily in right-wing media and certain social networks, as some users were posting racist tropes.

This was due to Disney’s decision to cast Ariel as a Black character. The film’s trailer was released earlier this year, initiating discussions over Ariel’s racial identity.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Rob Marshall, the director of the film, labeled criticisms regarding the casting of a Black actress as “small-minded”.

There is a significant body of opinion that argues that casting a Black actress offers Black children representation in mainstream culture.

In 2009, Disney unveiled their first Black princess with Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog”.

This wasn’t Disney’s first time casting characters who were initially white with actors of different ethnicities, as evidenced by the 1997 remake of “Cinderella” starring Brandy, a Black actress.

Regardless of the disputes, the film was one of the most prosperous to ever premiere on Memorial Day, as stated by Box Office Mojo.

“Top Gun Maverick” from the previous year leads this list with $160 million in domestic box office earnings over the extended holiday weekend.

“The Little Mermaid” also trailed behind 2007’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($140 million), 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” ($127 million), and 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” ($123 million).

Disney’s live-action reworking of “Aladdin” also made its debut on Memorial Day weekend in 2019. Its opening weekend collection of $116.8 million was marginally lower than that of “The Little Mermaid”.

After accounting for international sales, “The Little Mermaid” garnered $185.8 million over the weekend.