Disney's Live-Action version of 'The Little Mermaid' makes a $118.6 Million domestic debut

May 30, 2023 in "Walt Disney Studios"

Posted: Tuesday May 30, 2023 4:22pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney's live-action take on "The Little Mermaid," reimagined by filmmaker Rob Marshall, made a big splash in its debut weekend at the box office.

The film, which is a reworking of the original Academy Award-winning animated musical classic, pulled in a whopping $118.6 million domestically, securing it the title of the fifth biggest Memorial Day weekend opener ever.

Audiences rewarded the remake with a solid "A" CinemaScore and a 95 percent verified moviegoer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On the international front, The Little Mermaid raked in an extra $79 million in its first weekend.

The film brings together a star-studded cast with Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King embodying Prince Eric, and a slew of talented voices including Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. Additional roles include Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina, Art Malik as Sir Grimsby, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.

Rob Marshall directs the movie, co-produced by him alongside Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John DeLuca, with Jeffrey Silver in the role of an executive producer. The movie features music from Disney Legend Alan Menken and lyrics by fellow Disney Legend Howard Ashman - the dynamic duo that bagged two Oscars for the music in the original 1989 film - along with fresh lyrics penned by Miranda. 

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TP20007 days ago

But what about Merchandise and DVD sales? That's got to count for something, right?

Vegas Disney Fan8 days ago

With so much content now I suspect first impressions are everything, I start a ton of movies and shows that I don’t continue if the first 10-15 minutes don’t hook me. In the theater, after driving across town and paying $20 for a ticket and snacks, they’ve got a fairly captive audience, at home they’ve probably got about 10 minutes before most people will turn it off and move on to the next option, with thousand of options there’s no reason to continue on if something bores you at the beginning. This also makes the way they calculate viewings interesting also, it’s possible 26 million people started and didn’t finish but all those minutes added up to millions of views, even if many never finished the movie.

EPCOT-O.G.8 days ago

I’m fascinated by this. TLM actually did a bit better at the box office than Elemental. Yet Elemental has overwhelmed TLM in terms of purported viewership. It feels like the animated films generally have more rewatchability on those services than the live action remakes.

doctornick8 days ago

I watched but I did enjoy Elemental a good bit more and we’ve rewatched it. I thought TLM was probably in the top half of live action remakes actually but in general I don’t really like those movies that much so it’s not saying much. Jungle Book still far and away the best of the bunch

Vegas Disney Fan8 days ago

Elemental had 26 million views in its first week, TLM had 16 million… looks like about 40% of active D+ viewers don’t want to watch it, even for “free”. Rewatchability (is that a word?) likely skews this though as I’ve watched Elemental twice already and have still only watched the first 15 or so minutes of TLM. The first TLM scenes are very slow which probably isn’t helping its D+ viewership. Elemental grabs you from the start so it encourages continuing.

MoonRakerSCM12 days ago

All my disney friend peeps now have full access to Little Mermaid on a service they already pay for. None will watch it with me.

LSLS12 days ago

Honestly this kind of tells me Disney has REALLY screwed up their movie sector. Basically people have been trained that if they only have a passing interest in seeing a movie, there's no need to go to the theater when they can watch it for free in a few months. I get they are trying to change it, but I think this is highlighting the damage they've done.

TP200013 days ago

This remake of Little Mermaid just lost $106 Million at the box office for Disney. I'm sure there are Sharp Pencil Boys and several executives now asking that same financial question you have.

Phroobar13 days ago

Most likely so. I just know I kept wanting to fast forward but didn't in fear of missing something new.

Chi8413 days ago

I had nowhere to go so the length didn’t bother me lol. Also, I prefer live-action retellings to the originals for the very reason that relationships can be better established. So we’re probably coming from two very different places where the movie is concerned.

Phroobar13 days ago

I really didn't like any of the three new songs. They felt like time fillers, however Scuttlebutt was jarring to me.

Chi8413 days ago

Obviously, I enjoyed it much more than you did. Different things for different people! I thought the Scuttlebutt song was great.

Phroobar13 days ago

I watched it on D+. The acting and singing were fine except for the Scuttlebutt song. The songs felt more like karaoke at times. The animal animation was dreadful. The biggest problem is the length. There isn't much happening to justify the length. There were large patches where nothing advanced the plot. It is a C+.

DavidDL13 days ago

Watched this one Tuesday night. I thought it was fine. Some thoughts that come to mind: - I liked Scuttle. "Has Ariel killed the prince yet?" got an audible laugh out of me. - I think Bailey was fine but my wife and I had to turn down the volume or grit our teeth through some of her high notes when singing. I don't know if this was her or the sound editing team's doing but it hurt. - I think Ursula was great, McCarthy sounded just like her at times. On that note, Bailey sounded a lot like Ariel from the animation to me at times, too. There were points with these two that I was convinced Benson and Carroll were the ones speaking. - I thought the extra stipulation of Ariel forgetting she needed the kiss was a tad much. The fact that she already needed it to be a "true love" kiss (not just any ol' smooch) would've been challenge enough without her voice. - I liked Ariel saving Eric at the end using the knowledge that she got from watching him save others the night of the shipwreck, I felt like it tied those two scenes and characters together nicely. - I didn't like Eric's song or his acting during it, it all came off a bit "extra", to me. I'd say Beast's song did it better. - It is a small detail that others may not think about but I am glad Ariel did not need to sign a contract with Ursula. Because her doing so would mean she knows how to write and could have simply done so to communicate with Eric. With this iteration, we can infer that was never an option for her. Again, overall, I felt it was "fine". It was basically just watching The Little Mermaid. I guess it (like many Disney live action remakes) just felt a little unnecessary to me at the end of the day. Like, it's not like it existing is a bad thing. I'm happy for anyone will make this iteration their default between the two. But after realizing how VFX heavy the film was and therefore, how expensive it was to make, it made me question if the investment was really worth it on their end to get something that was just "fine" at the end of the day.