Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” has had a $10.3 million debut in previews. On Friday, it launches in 4,320 theatres.
The number of previews sold on Thursday was the seventh-highest ever for a G- or PG-rated film. “The Little Mermaid” also earned $850,000 from early access screenings on Wednesday.
The new film, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, is expected to gross $100 million throughout the holiday weekend. With Memorial Day on Monday, the total for the four days might range between $120 million and $125 million.
“The Little Mermaid” is set to be one of Disney’s most successful live-action remakes. In contrast, Disney’s most recent remake, the 2019 photorealistic and computer generated “The Lion King,” roared with a $191 million opening from a $23 million preview audience. It went on to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide. Just a few months before “The Lion King,” the live-action “Aladdin” debuted with $117 million during the four-day Memorial Day weekend (up from $7 million in previews) and crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide.
However, Disney has a history of botched remakes. The live-action “Mulan” debuted at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and was released exclusively on Disney+ Premier Access, while “Pinocchio” and “Peter Pan & Wendy” were also unique to Disney+.
“The Little Mermaid,” with a budget of roughly $250 million, is hoping to reclaim the No. 1 slot from last week’s winner, “Fast X.” After a weak $67 million debut, the Universal action sequel will fall to second place with an anticipated $27 million to $30 million in its second weekend.
Melissa McCarthy stars as the wicked sea witch Ursula, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder the fish, and Awkwafina as Scuttle the seabird in the Disney film.
“About My Father,” a low-budget comedy starring Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro, debuted to $285,000 in previews and is on pace to gross $5 million in its opening weekend, according to Lionsgate.