Disney Basically Paid Itself to Air “Disappointing” ‘Little Mermaid’ Oscars Teaser

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Halle Bailey as Ariel talking to Scuttle (Awkwafina) in live-action 'The Little Mermaid'

Credit: Disney

Disney paid broadcast network ABC an unbelievably large sum of money for the controversial The Little Mermaid (2023) trailer at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA.

Ariel in front of tentacles for Little Mermaid poster
Credit: Disney

The 2023 Oscar’s, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was received well overall, with Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) receiving a majority of the awards, Including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee-Curtis, and Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan.

Disney has received a lot of criticism for showing a trailer for their upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid remake at the 95th Academy Awards, which airs on a channel the company owns.

It was presented by the film’s stars, Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, and took up time that many think could have gone to Academy Award recipients who were cut off during their acceptance speeches.

What was especially odd was that even though the teaser was presented as part of the awards ceremony, it was not physically shown there. Instead, it was treated as a commercial break where the audience was told to stretch their legs.

Warner Bros. had a similar spot later into the ceremony, except viewers gave their presentation a pass since it celebrated the studio’s 100th Anniversary and cinema.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. The ‘Little Mermaid’ Trailer is Worth Millions of Dollars.

Several mermaids swimming through a coral reef in the new Little Mermaid film.
Credit: Disney

Related: Yara Shahidi Responds to Being the First Black Tinker Bell

Commercials at the Academy Awards tend to be expensive. A 30-second commercial for this year’s ceremony cost $1.6-2.1 million. That’s a lot of coin to sell a watch or to show off your new movie.

If you’re going to take up more time, it is going to cost more. So it was no surprise that Disney and Warner Bros. spent more than any other company on their advertisements.

According to IndieWire, Warner Bros. and Disney reported spending between 7 and 10 million dollars, although it is now believed that Warner Bros. paid a little less than that.

Mathematically, that makes sense. If each 30-second slot costs about $2 million and the trailer takes around two and a half minutes, then $10 million is the right amount to pay.

However, there is one caveat that eagle-eyed viewers are quick to point out: Disney owns ABC.

Is Disney Just Putting Money In Its Own Pocket?

Ursula smiling with her tentacles writhing about
Credit: Disney

Related: Bob Iger Drops Big Statement Over Disney Park Expansion

Disney bought ABC in 1996, and ABC operates independently of its parent company. However, that means that any money Disney gives to the cable channel will eventually find its way back to Disney.

It’s like a person who owns multiple sandwich shops buys a sandwich at one of the locations they own. Yes, they’re spending their money, but that will eventually return to the owner.

Depending on how you look at this, Disney paying ABC to show its Oscars trailer could be shady towards other studios or just good business.

What did you think of the trailer for The Little Mermaid? Are you going to see it in theaters? Let us know in the comments below.


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