Disney Bans ‘The Little Mermaid’, Movie Copies Selling for $25,000+

in Disney, Entertainment

Ariel gasping in The Little Mermaid

Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic animated Disney films to have come out of The Walt Disney Company, and now, those who purchased the film early have the chance to make a hefty amount.

ariel smiles at a dinglehopper little mermaid
Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid charmed audiences in 1989 after its release. Produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures, fans of the company were able to dive into the once-Danish fairy tale which showed a red-headed mermaid looking to live on land. Of course, this is the classic “grass is greener on the other side” tale.

While Ariel has a great life under the sea with her father King Triton, and her two sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder, the adventurer cannot help herself; she must visit land.

Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' singing "Part of Your World"
Credit: Disney

Her obsession begins with collecting human objects which fall into the ocean like a dinglehopper (a fork), and then, grows after she saves the life of the drowning Prince Eric. In order to get her land legs, Ariel makes a deal with sea witch Ursula, who takes her voice in exchange for feet. As we know, Disney is famous for their happy endings, so in this case, Ariel and Eric live happily ever after, and Ursula is defeated.

While the original version of Ariel was played by Jodi Benson, who iconically sings “Part of Your World”, in 2023, Disney released a live-action version of the movie, also titled The Little Mermaid. 

The film was heavily criticized before its debut due to Disney’s casting choice of placing Halle Bailey, a Black actress, in the role of Ariel. Many were stunned to see Disney deviate from their animated version of Ariel, which is how she is also depicted in Disney World, Disneyland, and all Disney parks worldwide.

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

As noted by Forbes, “It ended up with a worldwide gross of $569.6 million, which was respectable but a far cry from the $1.7 billion haul of Disney’s live-action Lion King in 2019 and the $1 billion that Aladdin made in the same year.”

Disney then remodeled some of their hotel rooms, including a few at Disney’s Caribbean Beach to look like a The Little Mermaid-inspired room. While the animated versions of Flounder and Sebastian are present, there is no Ariel. Many assumed Disney did not want to pick between the Caucasian and Black versions of the character.

While this drama with the film has taken over many headlines this year, Disney actually banned a version of the film a long time ago.

One of the original covers for The Little Mermaid on VHS was recalled and never seen again due to the phallic shapes that were depicted in the art. Screen Rant shared, “The VHS cover received backlash because the spires on King Triton’s castle contained phallic imagery. With the castle being the center of the image, it did not take long for audiences to call Disney out for the phallus, and the VHS cover was recalled and replaced.” This was the original 1989 album cover.

The Little Mermaid banned cover
Credit: Disney

Recently, we spoke about Disney VHS tapes, and how selling them can be quite lucrative. While many would never think to buy a VHS tape due to streaming platforms like Disney+ and Hulu, there are some collectors who are looking for rare versions of these tapes. The Black Diamond edition of many Disney films like Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo can make your once $20.000 VHS a $30,000 investment that you never even knew about. 

One copy of Aladdin is even selling on eBay for a mighty $1,000,000. Whether or not it will sell is another question; however, the listing does have over 160 people watching it, which is a very high number.

The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

Now, when guests look for this banned version of The Little Mermaid on the site, they will see that it is selling for tens of thousands of dollars! One copy is selling for $25,500 and using the “banned cover” rhetoric as a selling point.

There are other copies of the VHS tape that are also selling for lower price points, in the $5000 range. On these listings, multiple people have added the VHS tapes to their watch list, proving that there is interest in these higher-cost, banned Disney VHS tapes.

Considering Disney has never banned any of their other album art for their animated features, The Little Mermaid’s original cover does serve as a very unique rarity.

Did you know that Disney had banned The Little Mermaid‘s 1989 cover? Would you pay a lot of money to own it?

in Disney, Entertainment

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