Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” grossed approximately $96 million in its first three days in North American theaters. The opening rivals the $91 million Aladdin, which has secured a shot at over $1 billion at the global box office in 2019.
However, there’s no guarantee that the company’s latest live-action remake will have similar success. The movie will sink and swim by word of mouth.
In the wake of the pandemic, audience buzz has become an increasingly important factor for box office success. With so many options for entertainment, even franchise movies can be difficult to attract moviegoers. Even those who didn’t go to the movie the opening weekend may be lured into the cinema by positive chatter, helping to boost the overall box office of the movie.
Disney has seen firsthand what happens when audiences don’t connect with the title. The studio, known for its animated content, has struggled at the box office with its two recent releases, “Lightyear” and “Strange World.” Both films were poorly received by critics, and with previous releases delivered directly to his Disney+, consumers were confused about where to watch the films.
Meanwhile, Disney has built a solid theater business of live-action remakes of classic animated series, generating nearly $9 billion in global ticket sales from these movies since 2010.
The company’s success has inspired other studios to reinvent popular animated films as live-action films. Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation are currently developing a live-action adaptation of the wildly successful animated trilogy How to Train Your Dragon. The film is slated for his March 14, 2025 theatrical release.
Two live-action films based on 101 Dalmatians were released in 1996 and 2000, but Disney didn’t really start working on a remake of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. was. The film became his first to exceed $1 billion at the global box office, and he has produced nearly a dozen other titles, including Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Dumbo. connected to
And more is on the way. Disney recently announced plans to bring “Moana” and “Lilo and Stitch” to the real world. Disney is already looking to capitalize on new popular animations, and Sean Robbins, Chief Analyst at BoxOffice.com, said the company will capitalize on recent hits like “Frozen” and “Encanto.” I think it’s just a matter of time.
These film adaptations have met with varying degrees of success over the last decade and a half, with some of the likes of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast each exceeding $1 billion at the global box office, and Dumbo. and “Alice”. Each “Through the Looking Glass” grosses less than his $350 million worldwide.
“For Disney, the long game must include plans to move beyond the formidable triumvirate of Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “Disney has gone all out with live-action remakes of some of its most iconic titles featuring beloved characters, with varying degrees of box office success.”
“The Little Mermaid”‘s opening box office results show that Disney’s live-action strategy is a viable one, so it “should give Disney confidence,” he added.
But for many viewers, Disney’s release strategy has been disrupted by the pandemic. The live-action version of “The Lady and the Tramp” was made available to subscribers when the Disney+ streaming service first launched in late 2019, but most consumers are skeptical of these new adaptations. I’ve come to expect it to be revealed on screen.
When theaters closed due to the pandemic, Disney was forced to move 2020’s “Mulan” to Disney+ for a $30 rental fee, then release 2021’s “Cruella” in theaters and streaming at the same time.
The company wouldn’t release another live-action remake until late 2022, when Pinocchio, starring Tom Hanks, hit Disney+. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film was widely panned by critics and audiences alike.
“Peter Pan and Wendy,” which released on Disney+ in late April, also received middling reviews from critics (62% Fresh) and overwhelmingly unpopular with viewers at 11%.
With few exceptions, audiences have welcomed remakes of Disney’s animated classics, often scoring higher than critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The extent of the success of Disney’s remakes is evident in the animation renaissance of the 1990s being again the most resonating,” Robbins said. “It’s the result of these original stories being so well-loved, and the timely and generational traditions playing a role.”
Box office experts will look to the second weekend of The Little Mermaid’s domestic theatrical release to determine how long the film will last at the box office.
A drop of 50% to 70% is common for most movies. Major events often see box office ticket sales dip into this range after a very high weekend premiere. Movies of this sort may continue to make billions of dollars in theatrical releases, but this metric shows whether word of mouth is attracting new audiences to theaters, or whether interest is waning. be able to.
The live-action version of “Aladdin,” which also premiered on Memorial Day weekend, experienced a 53% drop in ticket sales from its first week to its second week. Until August of the same year, ticket sales continued to decline by less than 40%.
Upcoming Disney live-action remakes
- “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” — March 22, 2024
- “Mufasa: The Lion King” — July 5, 2024
- “Lilo & Stitch” — in development
- “Moana” — in development
- “Hercules” — in development
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame — in development
- “Robin Hood” — in development
- “The Aristocats” — in development
- “The Sword In The Stone” — in development
- “Bambi” — in development
- Cruella Sequel — In Development
- The Jungle Book sequel — in development
If The Little Mermaid can mimic those dips and stay in the cultural zeitgeist all summer long, box office analysts believe it will sell well at the domestic and ultimately global box office. Expect.
That may be difficult as the film faces stiff competition from Sony’s Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse, which hits theaters on Friday, and an upcoming family-friendly movie. Paramount’s ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beast’ opens June 9, while Disney and Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ opens as well as Warner Bros. “The Flash” opens June 16, while Universal’s “Ruby Gilman: Teenage Kraken” opens June 30.
“Despite some backlash and lower box office returns for some of the films, Disney’s vault showed how it transcends and continues to appeal to all ages,” Robbins said. said Mr. “Some people would argue that it was made at the expense of the original film, but ultimately I think audiences want both. Fresh content and nostalgic material both have their place. There is.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.