After the woke, financial problem children that were Lightyear and Strange World, both of which lost millions at the box office, with Lightyear losing over $100 million and Strange World losing a similarly massive sum, did Disney come up with a non-woke movie that people actually want to watch? Nope, they came up with a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
While that one has done okay at the domestic box office, things haven’t gone so well at the international box office. In fact, though it’s done reasonably well in the US, overseas ticket sales have been so slow that it could very well lose tens of millions of dollars, as Deadline reported.
In its report on the international headwinds the new version of The Little Mermaid is facing, Deadline noted that the film is expected to bring in about $300M-$350 million in the US and Canada and about $260 million in international sales.
That’s a problem, as the movie had a large budget and huge advertising budget, so even slightly low global sales could lead to a loss. Such is what Deadline reported, saying, “off a reported $250M production cost and $140M global marketing spend, The Little Mermaid could very well break-even. However, anything in the low $400M global threshold and this fish is apt to be sinking to a loss of around $20M.” Later, the article notes that the film’s combined expenses were $476 million, so it’ll need to make at least that to break even before participations and residuals are taken into account.
So, if the movie does about as well as currently expected, it’ll be somewhere around break-even. But if it slows down yet more as audiences look at the IMDB ratings and decide they don’t need to see it, at least in theaters, then it’ll be another loss for Disney. Speaking about that to Deadline, one insider said, “Not a huge disappointment, but a disappointment, nonetheless.”
.@IMDb has changed its film rating system for The Little Mermaid after people left poor reviews. The rating system now uses "an alternate weighting calculation" so that the film scores better. https://t.co/LQkC8qKWH9
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) June 1, 2023
The outcome is particularly disappointing for Disney for two reasons. For one, its other summer releases, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Pixar’s Elemental have both been panned on Rotten Tomatoes, with the new Indy film getting a 49% and the new Pixar film getting a 58%.
Beyond that, The Little Mermaid is a dumpster fire compared to the last live-action adaptation Disney released on a Memorial Day weekend: Aladdin. That one came out in 2019 and crushed it at the box office, bringing in $1.05 billion globally. 66% of that was from abroad, far outpacing how The Little Mermaid is doing outside the United States and Canada. Further, that film brought in over $50 million from China, whereas The Little Mermaid has brought in only $2.5 million from China, a nearly non-existent opening.
The reason for the movie’s poor performance is likely its replacement of a Caucasian Ariel in the original, which makes sense given the story’s European origin, with black Halle Bailey. Deadline reports that that change led to a serious backlash in Korea, China, France, and Germany, which then, in turn, led to far lower ticket sales than a movie that stuck to the original, animated film might have brought in.
"*" indicates required fields