The Little Mermaid enchants audiences and makes a big splash at the Memorial Day box office, raking in an estimated $118 million during its debut weekend. Returning to the screen after 35 years, this live-action remake of the beloved Disney classic captivated fans of all ages, solidifying its place as the fifth-highest Memorial Day opening in history.
Halle Bailey takes on the role of Ariel, the iconic flame-haired mermaid, in this visually stunning adaptation directed by Rob Marshall. Joining her is an ensemble cast including Melissa McCarthy as the wicked sea witch Ursula, Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, and Daveed Diggs. The film’s breathtaking CGI transports audiences into Ariel’s underwater world, bringing the ocean and its inhabitants to life like never before.
“The Little Mermaid” holds a special place in the hearts of many who grew up with the original animated film released in 1988. Disney’s head of distribution, Tony Chambers, expressed the sentiment, stating, “‘The Little Mermaid’ is a classic. For many people of my age, along with ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ it holds a special place as their favorite animated movie. It transports them back to their childhood, and this live-action remake provides the perfect opportunity for them to pass on that love to the next generation.”
The film’s success is crucial to Disney, as it comes with a hefty production cost of $250 million. Fortunately, “The Little Mermaid” has already made waves internationally, grossing an impressive $68.3 million from 51 markets. Domestically, the film appealed to a wide range of audiences, with 68% of moviegoers being female and 25% falling into the 25 to 34 age range. Children also made up a significant portion, comprising 22% of the opening weekend crowds.
Disney’s live-action adaptations of their animated classics have proven to be a winning formula, with hits like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Lion King” captivating audiences worldwide. The success of “The Little Mermaid” only strengthens Disney’s resolve to continue mining their vast library of animated properties for future live-action reboots.
While “The Little Mermaid” made a significant splash, other films experienced mixed results at the box office. The tenth installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “Fast X,” saw a decline in domestic earnings, raking in an estimated $23 million in its second weekend. However, it remains a global hit, expected to surpass $500 million in worldwide earnings.
Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3” secured the third spot at the box office with $20 million, pushing its domestic total to an impressive $300 million. Meanwhile, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” from Universal and Illumination continued its successful run, adding $6.3 million to its already impressive domestic earnings of $560.9 million.
Not all films experienced the same level of success. Sony and Legendary’s action comedy “The Machine,” along with Lionsgate’s “About My Father” and Open Road and Briarcliff’s “Kandahar,” struggled to find an audience, earning lackluster figures at the box office.
As “The Little Mermaid” continues to enchant audiences, it is clear that the combination of nostalgia and fresh storytelling has struck a chord. With its remarkable debut, Disney’s live-action reimaginations are poised to continue captivating viewers, evoking cherished memories while introducing beloved tales to a new generation.