“The Little Mermaid” Headed Toward $121M+ Opening Weekend, Propelled by $80M Promotional Campaign

Justin Giglio

“The Little Mermaid” Headed Toward $121M+ Opening Weekend, Propelled by $80M Promotional Campaign

Justin Giglio

“The Little Mermaid” Headed Toward $121M+ Opening Weekend, Propelled by $80M Promotional Campaign

According to Deadline, industry estimates indicate that “The Little Mermaid” is trending toward a strong opening weekend at the box office. It is being propelled by an $80M promotional campaign, the largest for a Disney live-action film ever.

“The Little Mermaid” Opening Weekend

live action little mermaid ariel blowfish

Early Sunday reports show that “The Little Mermaid” had a $30M Saturday, the same amount that the live-action remake “Aladdin” made over its Memorial Day weekend Saturday. That strong performance spurred a revised outlook for the film of $95.5M over three days and $117.5M over four per Disney this AM.

“Aladdin” grossed $116.8M over a 4-day premiere over Memorial Day weekend in 2019. Some projections have “The Little Mermaid” landing between $121M-$123M for its opening weekend.

“The Little Mermaid” box office success is being driven by the biggest global promotional partner campaign for a Disney-branded live-action title (not Lucasfilm or Marvel Cinematic Universe) ever. The total campaign spend is estimated at $80M in value. Disney partnered with brands like Target, Spotify, McDonald’s, HSN, Booking.com, Mattel, ULTA, Kellogg’s, and more to help promote the film.

Audience response has also been overwhelmingly positive. The film has an “A” CinemaScore (the same grade as Disney’s live-action “Cinderella”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”). Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak notched 91% positive and a 76% definite recommend, while kids under 12 were 92% positive and a 69% definite recommend. 

Live-Action “The Little Mermaid”

Ariel in live-action The Little Mermaid poster

Oscar-nominated Rob Marshall, known for his work with “Chicago” and Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” directs “The Little Mermaid.” The remake stars Halle Bailey as mermaid princess Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab, Awkwafina as diving bird Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. Noma Dumezweni will portray the new character Queen Selina, Eric’s mother.

The full trailer debuted during the Oscars, and a teaser trailer was released in April. Alan Menken, who wrote the score for the original 1989 “The Little Mermaid,” made some lyrical updates for the live-action remake, with help from Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“The Little Mermaid” released in theaters on May 26, 2023. Bailey and Jodi Benson, who voiced the animated Ariel, united at the film’s premiere.

This wasn’t the first time that Bailey and Benson had interacted. According to the LA Times, Benson makes an on-land cameo in the film and was on set for the filming of “The Little Mermaid.” Benson was a source of on-set support for Bailey. “She told me how proud she was of me and how I’m handling everything, and encouraged me to just go for it,” Bailey said regarding Benson. “I appreciate her for being so warm and welcoming to me because she’s the GOAT, and it was important to me to get her stamp of approval.”

Take a look at some of the live-action-inspired merchandise for “The Little Mermaid” now available at Walt Disney World Resort:

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