Disney Unexpectedly Announces Second “The Little Mermaid” Live-Action Film

in Disney, Entertainment

halle bailey ariel the little mermaid live action

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

It looks like we are about to go back under the sea!

The most recent live-action The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey has been highly discussed prior to it even debuting at the box office, mostly due to the choice of changing the skin color of Ariel compared to her appearance in the animated film. That being said, the rest of the movie is relatively similar to the animated one in terms of storyline.

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian
Credit: Disney

While many fans were highly supportive, others immediately took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their frustrations about the casting of the Disney Princess character. The hashtag #NotMyAriel immediately began to trend.

The Walt Disney Company, Jodi Benson (the original voice for Ariel in the 1989 animated classic), Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the producers and composers for the upcoming live-action remake, and others spoke out defending Disney’s decision and Bailey’s casting of the character.

Even with all of the chatter, it seems that the majority of viewers chose to stay away from the film, as it floundered in the box office. The Little Mermaid comes as Disney’s latest remake of an animated classic that endeavors to follow the massive success of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, all of which grossed over $1 billion.

Live-action 'Little Mermaid' shot
Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid held a $250 million production budget and a $140 million marketing spend, and according to Deadline, would need to gross $560 million at the global box office to break even.

The remake took home $567.51 million from the global box office ($297.19 million domestic and $270.32 million international), the movie will likely turn an extremely thin profit depending on its home release sales. Now, it seems Disney is doing what they can to increase that profitability with another version of The Little Mermaid hit theaters on August 25.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' 2023
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

It has been confirmed “Disney is heading back under the sea to provide a final boost to the box office performance of its live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. They’ve unveiled plans for a unique sing-along edition of the movie, slated for release in handpicked theaters throughout the United States starting on August 25th. While international release details haven’t been disclosed as of now, it’s highly probable, given the potential to give the film a final revenue surge before the end of its theatrical run. The film has already been released digitally and will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD on September 19.”

Collider continued, “Sing-along versions often include on-screen lyrics, allowing the audience to join in and sing along with the songs from the movie. It can be a great way to engage with the film on a new level, especially for fans who know the songs by heart, and given the popularity of The Little Mermaid, with its legendary lyrics from the acclaimed Alan Menken plus new additions from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film is perfect for this sort of special attraction.”

Ariel and Eric "Kiss the Girl" scene, leaning in on boat, from The Little Mermaid 2023 remake
Credit: Disney

Re-releasing musicals with singalong features has proven extremely popular in recent years, with the likes of Mamma Mia! and The Greatest Showman bringing audiences back in droves as their target audiences make fun evenings of the big-screen karaoke. It seems Disney is hoping to see a resurgence with the return of their live-action The Little Mermaid coming back to theaters in an all-new way.

Disney Live-Action Backlash

Over the past few years, we have seen Disney attempt to be much more diverse and inclusive in all aspects of the company, including casting choices. This, for some, has recently gone too far — and now Disney is seemingly looking to make it right.

Previously, Disney launched the Reimagine Tomorrow initiative, stating that “We haven’t always got it right.” This came after the Cast Member dress code changed when it came to the “Disney Look,” allowing Cast Members to express themselves more while at work. On top of that, we have already heard of the progress coming along on the new Princess and the Frog attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, that is replacing Splash Mountain’s racist undertone scenes due to the Song of the South IP, as well as changing the storyline on both Walt Disney World Resort’s and Disneyland Resort’s Jungle Cruise attraction to ensure cultural appropriation disappears.

Credit: Disney

Most recently, the upcoming Snow White live-action film starring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot has hit some heat. There are two main instances that caused fans to outrage with the upcoming film. Firstly, there will be no dwarfs in the film, but seven magical creatures, which deviate from the iconic story that Walt Disney himself created on screen. The second comes from an interview where Zegler and Gadot say that Snow White will not have a prince charming, and there is no one that needs to save her.

At this point, fans accused Disney of creating a totally different film, and creating a pseudo-feminist film that makes Snow White’s ideals and behavior be seen as wrong, creating a corrupt narrative for females who may dream of finding their “prince charming”, or behaving as more of a softer character, than someone who is constantly trying to be the leader, as Zegler said Snow White will now be. With this, fans have been outraged at Disney pushing their “woke” agenda.

Rachel Zegler pretending to be Snow White in front of a poster of the classic animated princess
Credit: Rachel Zegler, Twitter

At the same time #BoycottDisney became quite the popular discussion on Twitter.

Following the extreme backlash, Zegler took to Twitter to try and have Disney fans be more kind towards her. She wrote, “i love you very much. forever and ever. remember to be kind. treat each other with patience and empathy. remember that you are loved unconditionally, no matter your mistakes, no matter your misunderstandings. you deserve it. you deserve love. you deserve to live without fear. x” as well as “i hope the world becomes kinder” on August 11, 2023.


Some of the comments on the Tweets pushed again that Snow White’s narrative should not be changed, “If you really “love” us so much, then listen. There are legitimate concerns brought forward by others. Why aren’t you fighting for a true adaptation of Snow White? It’s okay for girls to want true love.”, while others were much more hateful, calling Zegler “brownish mud”.

Will you go see the sing-along version of The Little Mermaid? 

in Disney, Entertainment

View Comments (30)