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The Little Mermaid’s Box Office Letdown Looks Even Worse Compared To 1 Other Disney Remake – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

The Little Mermaid’s Box Office Letdown Looks Even Worse Compared To 1 Other Disney Remake



The Little Mermaid (2023) is a thrilling live-action reimagining that is enjoyable overall. However, the film’s total box office yield may turn out to be a Disney disappointment, as indications point toward a surprising struggle to surpass the domestic haul of a fellow live-action movie. The Little Mermaid has significant expectations to fill, as it fights to pull in audiences for significant box office numbers. The high profits of live-action films that came before it and movie theater attendance trends undoubtedly intimidate The Little Mermaid’s success. Its immense $250 million production costs threaten the film’s headway.

Despite these challenges, The Little Mermaid is an improvement on other live-action remakes and the original animation in a number of ways. It’s a fun and imaginative outing that has passed the $500 million milestone at the global box office. However, The Little Mermaid’s contentions seem to be overtaking its strengths, and the film’s struggles have placed it far below other Disney live-action box office successes. In fact, what The Little Mermaid achieved globally and what it’s predicted to achieve at the end of the day is even less than what one live-action film was able to pull off domestically.

The Little Mermaid has only recently made the breakthrough of the $500 million dollar mark. As the film nears the end of its fifth week in theaters, projections of The Little Mermaid’s overall box office haul have come to circle around as little as $525 million worldwide. In the scope of Disney’s live-action history, The Lion King (2019) made more than that domestically at $543 million. The Lion King and other Disney’s live-action remakes have created a billion-dollar trend, with The Lion King remake hitting $1.66 billion worldwide and the likes of Aladdin (2019) and The Jungle Book (2016) reaching on or around the billion-dollar mark. If The Little Mermaid’s final box office projections are right, the highly anticipated remake, despite the support of massive publicity and advertising efforts, will fall short of Disney’s live-action billion-dollar club. Its failure is made even worse by the insight that it won’t even beat The Lion King’s much more impressive domestic numbers.

There was plenty of hype behind The Little Mermaid remake’s arrival. The film banked on Halle Bailey’s impressive talent to carry its reimagining of Ariel and tantalizingly teased bits and pieces of the realistic revamp of the vast world under the sea. Judging by the numbers, however, somewhere between production and the box office, The Little Mermaid could not find and hold its traction. Although quite surprising, there are several reasons why The Little Mermaid floundered at the box office. Disney could have simply overestimated The Little Mermaid’s following – compared to The Lion King, Aladdin, and The Jungle Book’s seemingly more relatable storylines, The Little Mermaid’s more romantic narrative may not have struck a chord with as many viewers. In addition, many of The Little Mermaid’s pre-release snippets showcased an underwater world that lacked the vibrancy viewers would expect from a Disney film. This, coupled with the ridiculous backlash against Bailey’s casting, has led to international box office returns well below similar Disney princess narratives like Beauty and the Beast.

Disney’s high aspirations for The Little Mermaid consequently created high production costs of $250 million that make the movie’s poor box office performance a big red flag when looking to break even. According to various reports and breakdowns of numbers, The Little Mermaid is very much still in hot water. If The Little Mermaid remains in its projected scope of achieving around $525 million in total, then the movie will fail to break even and be considered a box office disappointment for Disney. Only if The Little Mermaid makes close to $560 million at the global box office (bringing its net profit to about $71 million before participations and residuals) will the mermaid movie break even. This will be particularly hard-won for the film, as most of its money has already come off the back of its domestic box office, and it has no choice but to hope to appeal to international audiences. Even if The Little Mermaid can recover its costs, the 2023 fantasy/musical is unfortunately paling in comparison when likened to The Lion King and other Disney live-action box office feats.

While The Little Mermaid (2023) is an overall enjoyable live-action reimagining, its total box office yield may turn out to be a Disney disappointment, as indications point toward the movie’s surprising struggle to pass a fellow live-action’s domestic haul. The Little Mermaid certainly has sizable expectations to fill that hang over the movie as it fights to pull in audiences for significant enough box office numbers. The high profits of live-action films that came before it and movie theater attendance trends undoubtedly intimidate The Little Mermaid’s success, all while its immense $250 million production costs threaten the film’s headway.


Still though, in a number of ways, The Little Mermaid is an improvement on other live-action remakes and the original animation. It’s a suitably fun and imaginative outing that has passed the $500 million milestone at the global box office. But, The Little Mermaid’s contentions seem to be overtaking its strengths, and the film’s struggles have placed it far below other Disney live-action box office successes. In fact, what The Little Mermaid achieved globally and what it’s predicted to achieve at the end of the day is even less than what one live-action film was able to pull off domestically.

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Related: The Little Mermaid’s Box Office Drop Is Horrible For Disney’s Live-Action Remakes



The Little Mermaid’s Worldwide Box Office Won’t Beat The Lion King’s Domestic Haul

Simba and Mufasa in The Lion King (2019)

The Little Mermaid has only recently made the breakthrough of the $500 million dollar mark. As the film nears the end of its fifth week in theaters, projections of The Little Mermaid’s overall box office haul have come to circle around as little as $525 million worldwide. In the scope of Disney’s live-action history, The Lion King (2019) made more than that domestically at $543 million.

The Lion King and other Disney’s live-action remakes have created a billion-dollar trend, with The Lion King remake hitting $1.66 billion worldwide and the likes of Aladdin (2019) and The Jungle Book (2016) reaching on or around the billion-dollar mark. If The Little Mermaid’s final box office projections are right, the highly anticipated remake, despite the support of massive publicity and advertising efforts, will fall short of Disney’s live-action billion-dollar club. Its failure is made even worse by the insight that it won’t even beat The Lion King’s much more impressive domestic numbers.

What Went Wrong With The Little Mermaid’s Box Office

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid (2023)

There was plenty of hype behind The Little Mermaid remake’s arrival. The film banked on Halle Bailey’s impressive talent to carry its reimagining of Ariel and tantalizingly teased bits and pieces of the realistic revamp of the vast world under the sea. Judging by the numbers, however, somewhere between production and the box office, The Little Mermaid could not find and hold its traction. Although quite surprising, there are several reasons why The Little Mermaid floundered at the box office.

Disney could have simply overestimated The Little Mermaid’s following – compared to The Lion King, Aladdin, and The Jungle Book’s seemingly more relatable storylines, The Little Mermaid’s more romantic narrative may not have struck a chord with as many viewers. In addition, many of The Little Mermaid‘s pre-release snippets showcased an underwater world that lacked the vibrancy viewers would expect from a Disney film. This, coupled with the ridiculous backlash against Bailey’s casting, has led to international box office returns well below similar Disney princess narratives like Beauty and the Beast.

Is The Little Mermaid Going To Be A Box Office Bomb? How Much It Still Needs To Break Even

Ariel and Sebastian in The Little Mermaid (2023)

Disney’s high aspirations for The Little Mermaid consequently created high production costs of $250 million that make the movie’s poor box office performance a big red flag when looking to break even. According to various reports and breakdowns of numbers, The Little Mermaid is very much still in hot water. If The Little Mermaid remains in its projected scope of achieving around $525 million in total, then the movie will fail to break even and be considered a box office disappointment for Disney.

Only if The Little Mermaid makes close to $560 million at the global box office (bringing its net profit to about $71 million before participations and residuals) will the mermaid movie break even. This will be particularly hard-won for the film, as most of its money has already come off the back of its domestic box office, and it has no choice but to hope to appeal to international audiences. Even if The Little Mermaid can recover its costs, the 2023 fantasy/musical is unfortunately paling in comparison when likened to The Lion King and other Disney live-action box office feats.

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