Disney Plus' Little Mermaid 2023 Release Is Disappointing Fans for 1 Reason

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Little Mermaid Disney+

The Little Mermaid just arrived on Disney+, but one major omission has left some fans disappointed in the streaming offering.

After a long, frustrating, and record-breaking wait, The Little Mermaid has finally arrived on Disney+ for subscribers to enjoy.

The streaming release for the 2023 live-action remake was celebrated with a special trailer and as part of a Disney+ montage video.

The Little Mermaid's Disney+ Release Omits IMAX Edition

The Little Mermaid arrived on Disney+ on September 6 devoid of an IMAX Enhanced edition which allows movies to be experienced on the streamer with an expanded aspect ratio and improved sound.

Disney+, The Little Mermaid, IMAX Enhanced

The news comes as a particular surprise after IMAX played an important role in The Little Mermaid's theatrical marketing, with a special trailer and poster released to promote the popular viewing format.

Currently, Disney+ has the majority of its MCU movies streaming with an IMAX Enhanced option, with versions also available for Pixar's Lightyear and 20th Century Studios' Avatar: The Way of Water.

The 2023 live-action remake was produced by the Walt Disney Pictures division, which currently has no movies on Disney+ with an IMAX Enhanced version - except Lightyear, although that came as a co-production with Pixar.

Disney+, Lightyear, IMAX Enhanced

One disappointed fan, Nicky J. O'Hagan, took to X (formerly Twitter) to question the absence of an IMAX Enhanced edition with its usual 26% bigger picture:

"WHERE'S THE IMAX ENHANCED?!! Why it doesn't says 'Now Streaming in IMAX Enhanced' for 'The Little Mermaid'?! Disney+ is supposed to add the IMAX's 1.90:1 expanded aspect ratio including the underwater sequences with 26% picture!"

Over on Reddit, u/4KBlurayAvenger called the decision "really dumb" to exclude the IMAX Enhanced edition, praising how the movie's larger aspect ratio scenes were "very immersive" with "very seamless transitions:"

"I think it’s really dumb that there isn’t the IMAX Enhanced version of the live-action 'The Little Mermaid' available! I don’t understand why it isn’t, it definitely had some very seemless transitions between 1.90:1 & 2.39:1 in IMAX theatres. The IMAX scenes were very immersive so I do hope it will be added on soon."

Why The Little Mermaid Was Missing an IMAX Enhanced Disney+ Release?

Disney+'s IMAX Enhanced editions have so far been reserved for the studio's biggest movies including the MCU, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Lightyear.

As The Little Mermaid beautifully placed IMAX at the forefront of its marketing, most were expecting the movie to come to the Enhanced option on Disney+, especially after the studio poured $250 million into crafting the movie.

While the 2023 remake may currently be missing an IMAX Enhanced edition, the disappointment from fans may lead to one eventually seeing the light of day.

Putting this hold on the IMAX Enhanced release may encourage subscribers to enjoy The Little Mermaid now in the standard aspect ratio, and to revisit it down the line once the bigger and better version debuts.

The format may currently only be included for the MCU and two other movies, but that selection will likely continue to grow in the coming months, with most expecting to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in IMAX Enhanced.

The Little Mermaid is streaming now on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.