Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' Reboot Set to Be a Record Flop for Hollywood: Report
If movie ticket pre-sales figures are any indication, Disney’s newest live-action, reboot of its popular animated film, “The Little Mermaid,” seems to be headed for an epic flop for its debut in China.
The film was awarded a Chinese premiere date early in April for a May 26 release in the communist nation. This was a victory of its own since authorities in Beijing have been refusing to allow many American films to debut there at all.
The film, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as the villainous Ursula, along with Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and Jonah Hauer-King, came on strong when its first trailer was released in March, generating more than 108 million global views in its first 24 hours online, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But after receiving its opening date, tickets went on pre-sale in China, and things have cooled down considerably.
According to IMDb, pre-sales in China for the live-action adventure are tanking.
“According to Chinese box officer observers such as Luiz Fernando, the film earned just $13,000 from pre-sales for its opening weekend, indicating a severe lack of interest from China’s moviegoers,” IMDb reported this week.
“Could be the worst opening ever for Hollywood tentpole in China,” the site concluded.
Granted, the film could still be a hit in the U.S. and elsewhere when it is released on Friday, but these initial signs are not good.
The film generated controversy several years ago when Disney revealed it had cast black pop singer and actress Halle Bailey in the title role of Ariel, a role which has been traditionally portrayed as a blue-eyed, fair-skinned mermaid since it is based on Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fable.
The controversy over the unusual casting decision was strong enough to swamp the trailer on Youtube with more than 1.5 million “dislikes” and caused Disney to turn off comments on the page.
Disney has been finding itself on the losing end of the popularity game, at least since its very public attack on Florida’s education law that bans children from being exposed to the radical gay and transgender sexual politics in the Sunshine State’s schools.
Disney blatantly declared that as a corporate policy it opposed the education law and would use its millions of dollars to try to overturn it, CNBC News reported at the time.
This political activism came after years of the entertainment giant’s internal policies of pushing the LGBT agenda on its children’s programming.
But this political activism has also coincided with a major drop in America’s love for all things Disney, as well. In June of last year, for instance, it was found that the company’s favorability quotient had dropped an incredible 40 points.
It has also seemingly translated into disastrous box office numbers for many of the films Disney thought were going to be box office gold. Compared to other studios, Disney’s earnings are less than stellar.
The Wrap’s Scott Mendelson noted in December that Disney releases have grossed just over $1 billion worldwide during the period, while Universal’s animated films have taken in twice as much, $2.06 billion.
Indeed, since 2022, several of the films the studio expected to do well were relative flops.
After its attacks on Florida, its June 2022 release of “Lightyear,” based on the popular “Toy Story” characters, only brought in $51 million for its opening weekend when it was expected to rake in as much as $85 million.
By November, its expected hit “Strange World,” also turned out to be a flop for the studio and was on the road to actually losing money. The movie debuted to a “disappointing” $12 million for its opening weekend, an amount that didn’t even put a dent in the reported $180 million production cost.
These two flops reportedly cost Disney up to a loss of a quarter billion dollars, it was reported in April of this year.
Disney’s next expected hit, “The Little Mermaid,” opens on Friday in the U.S. and elsewhere. It remains to be seen if the film rises to the challenge, or becomes just another “disappointing” release for struggling Disney.
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