Disney’s much-anticipated live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” reportedly grossed $10.3 million at its North American box office previews, as the Memorial Day Weekend kicked off. The preview grossing ranks seventh on the list of all-time previews for movies rated G or PG. Disney’s “Aladdin” holds the lead with $10.8 million in previews. The preview grossing for “The Little Mermaid” includes $850,000 in figures from special screenings on Wednesday and the remaining amount from traditional Thursday evening screenings.
Rob Marshall directs the live-action remake of Disney’s beloved animated film. The new “Little Mermaid” stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, the spirited young mermaid who makes a dangerous deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, played by Melissa McCarthy, to experience life on land and meet the dashing Prince Eric, played by Jonah Hauer-King. The new pact poses a great threat to her father’s watery kingdom. The cast also features Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, and Art Malik.
Bailey’s performance as Ariel has garnered widespread acclaim from critics even amid a racist backlash from social media commenters over the casting of a black actress as the title role. It is expected that these protests will have minimal effects on the film’s success in North America, but its performance in selected overseas markets remains to be seen. The movie’s target is $120 million for the four-day holiday, marking the fifth biggest domestic start for Memorial Day weekend.
The four-day box office haul is projected to include a three-day gross of $100 million. The ticket presales are recording ahead of “Aladdin” but behind other live-action remakes like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King”. The new movie is estimated to gross $80 million at the international box office through Sunday. The growing interest in the movie is driven mainly by girls, mommies and other females similar to the case with “Beauty and the Beast,” which had a 70 percent female audience.
The movie features a score from multiple Oscar winner Alan Menken with additional songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, to add to the nostalgia of the viewers. Legendary’s action-comedy “The Machine” and Robert De Niro comedy “About My Father” also had nationwide releases, but they are not expected to exceed more than $5 million or $6 million in their domestic debuts. “The Machine” from Screen Gems stars Bert Kreischer and is inspired by the comedian’s stand-up act of the same name, with Mark Hamill co-starring.
The success of “The Little Mermaid” is a testament to the power of Disney’s live-action remakes of its beloved animated movies, which often attract big audiences globally. “The Lion King” grossed over $1.65 billion and “Aladdin” grossed $1.05 billion at the global box offices respectively. The strategy of the Disney company to move into more live-action feature films has proven successful, driving major growth for the company in the entertainment sector. The future looks bright for Disney’s live-action remakes, with upcoming films like “Pinocchio”, “Hercules”, and “Lilo & Stitch”.