‘The Little Mermaid’ Could Break The Box Office

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Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' (2023). Credit: Disney

Credit: Disney

Disney could be charting for a record-breaking hit with The Little Mermaid (2023).

'The Little Mermaid'; Ariel closeup on the front and Ariel and Eric in Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' (2023) on the left
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Disney Park Offers Free Screenings of ‘The Little Mermaid’

The Little Mermaid is the latest live-action reboot for the House of Mouse, which kicked off the trend with 2015’s Cinderella. Directed by Rob Marshall, the movie brings the story of Ariel (Halle Bailey), a mermaid who makes a bargain with a nefarious sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to pursue love with the landbound Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King).

The movie opened to previews yesterday and Deadline is reporting that it is bringing in more than $10M in box office. If that number exceeds $10.8M, then it will be the sixth biggest preview performance for a U, PG or G rated movie in history. The total so far is made up of fan screenings at 500 theaters.

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in 'Beauty and the Beast'
Credit: Disney

Within Disney’s own stable of live-action reboots, The Little Mermaid is already the second best performing, bested only by Beauty and the Beast (2017) which did $16.3M in previews. It easily beat Cinderella‘s $2.3M in previews and that of Aladdin (2019), which clocked $7M.

Critically, The Little Mermaid currently stands at 68% on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score is a much more favorable 95%. Tracking has the film looking at a $120M total over the 4-day opening weekend.

Deadline mentions that female-skewing titles are often more lucrative earlier in their release, with box office returns experiencing a more accelerated drop off. But they cite previous Disney fare, particularly those led by the popular Disney princesses, as having better staying power — presumably with the power of the Disney brand and name recognition boosting the audience appeal and popularity.

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in 'The Little Mermaid' (2023). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

As Deadline stated:

Beauty and the Beast only eased around -2% between its Thursday previews/Friday and Saturday business. Frozen 2 was +19% over a similar period while Aladdin, which starred Princess Jasmine, only eased -4% between its Thursday night/Friday and Saturday.

The Little Mermaid may be a much needed live-action success for Disney, at a time when layoffs and cost-cutting measures are being deployed across the company.

Halle Bailey playing Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' (2023)
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Remake Changes Key Plot Point From the Original

Will you be going to see The Little Mermaid this weekend? Tell us in the comments below.

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