A finance insider told Deadline that 2023's The Little Mermaid is “not a huge disappointment, but a disappointment, nonetheless." This quickly put into question whether the reimagined film was a flop.
Considering a whopping $250 million budget, The Little Mermaid needed to put up huge numbers in order to be considered a box office success.
Ultimately, the family film starring Halle Bailey earned $569.5 million globally, falling short of other Disney remakes like The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast.
Disney+ Success for The Little Mermaid
After its streaming launch on September 6, The Little Mermaid drew 16 million views in its first five days, according to Disney.
In addition, Disney shared a statement calling The Little Mermaid "the most viewed Disney movie premiere on Disney+ since Hocus Pocus 2," which previously set a record with streaming 2.7 billion minutes from September 26 to October 2, 2022, according to Deadline.
The House of Mouse additionally said The Little Mermaid has "a strong theatrical run" which led to being "one of the top five highest-grossing films of the summer" and "among 2023’s top ten films worldwide to date..."
Is The Little Mermaid a Theatrical Success?
To understand whether the new The Little Mermaid was a flop or hit is more complicated than just looking at box office numbers.
The most important note related to the box office is the success (or lack thereof) in international markets.
Roughly $270 million outside of North America pales in comparison to other Disney reimaginings:
- The Lion King - $1.1 billion
- Beauty and the Beast - $759.5 million
- Aladdin - $695.1 million
- Alice in Wonderland - $691.3 million
- The Jungle Book - $602.5 million
- Maleficent - $517.1 million
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil - $377.8 million
- Cinderella - $342.4 million
- The Little Mermaid - $270 million
While Disney has had unbelievable international success, The Little Mermaid should sound a few warning alarms for upcoming remakes like Snow White, Mufasa: The Lion King, and Moana.
On the flip side, it's no surprise that Disney's latest is a massive success on streaming. A film squarely aimed at children, The Little Mermaid features tons of familiar songs and a few key additions to the playlist.
For a new generation, this could be the story of Ariel that they will know and love growing up, with easy access to Disney+ for years to come.
It's hard to call The Little Mermaid a complete flop when its box office performance wasn't a clear failure, and Disney is always glad to add another imaginative, musical hit to its catalog.
The Little Mermaid is now streaming on Disney+.