The Little Mermaid might be a fairytale, but Disney’s latest film has transpired as a box-office nightmare.
When Halle Bailey’s casting in the adaptation was announced back in 2019, fans broke out in a frenzy of fury and derision which soon melted into vehement racism. Since Ariel, in the 1989 animation is a white princess, the audience revolted at the prospect of casting an actress of different color in the new movie. And well, people’s distaste is quite evident because the Rob Marshall-helmed musical has tanked horribly at the box office.
The Little Mermaid Flops in China and South Korea
The polarization that materialized as a result of Halle Bailey‘s casting in the remake of the beloved classic has clearly borne grave repercussions for the musical.
While Marshall’s The Little Mermaid started off with a relatively decent four-day domestic debut of around $118 million, it soon veered in the trajectory of a box-office failure, making even the prospect of break-even look like a difficult feat to achieve. Since it was propped up against a hefty budget of $250 million excluding the $140 million that the studio put in for the movie’s global marketing, such a disappointing performance, and that too for a Disney tentpole, only makes it all worse.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Bailey-led adaptation became suffered a disastrous box-office reception in both China as well as South Korea in what has been gauged as an intense bout of racist backlash. In the first 10 days of its release, the film managed to gross only $3.6 million in Chinese theatres and didn’t fare well too well in South Korea either, accumulating slightly over $4 million through June 4.
What’s more, with the current numbers that it has churned, The Little Mermaid has turned out to be the 4th worst Disney live-action remake.
Fans React to Halle Bailey’s Box Office Catastrophe
At the cost of stating the obvious, The Little Mermaid started off on the wrong foot with fans when it was still fresh in its preliminary stages of casting and production. But perhaps the amount of contempt it stirred among people was misjudged because it has very conspicuously impacted the movie’s overall performance.
As fans’ hatred bled into racist remarks and biting comments, with some even vowing to renounce the film altogether, the Disney venture only became more prone to failure. And with its recent performance or lack thereof, in China and South Korea, the audience remains unimpressed, not willing to change their opinions in the least.
Replacing every character and actor of a specific race with a different specific race is an interesting way of fighting racism.
— Retrovium (@openplains12) June 7, 2023
Yeap!!! Disney’s bubble exploded right in their noses.
— APEXSNATION (@APEXSNATION) June 7, 2023
— CP (@cpmgee) June 6, 2023
— Jed Pascua (@Jed_Pascua) June 6, 2023
orrrr the movie just bad/mediocre
— huyenchaau (@Poppyxparadxemu) June 7, 2023
Those are same markets where black panther and spiderverse did good boxoffice . Stop pushing this racism card . People don’t want to see it coz they don’t feel like that is the Ariel character they grew up with . Disney is racist for race swapping a popular character
— Mayur Dige (@lost_boy_may) June 7, 2023
So far, The Little Mermaid has amassed about $191 million in the domestic circuit and its worldwide earnings are barely over $332 million, as per The Numbers. The film is currently playing in theatres.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter | Twitter