The Little Mermaid: How much box office money did Halle Bailey's film make over the opening weekend?

The Little Mermaid (2023) has been directed by Rob Marshall. (Photo via Twitter/@LittleMermaid and Sportskeeda)
The Little Mermaid (2023) has been directed by Rob Marshall. (Photo via Twitter/@LittleMermaid and Sportskeeda)

The Little Mermaid, despite racist protests and jibes at character designs, has managed to earn a decent $185.8 million across the world, stated The Numbers.

The debut weekend haul for the Disney live-action flick consists of a $117.5 million pick from the domestic market and a dull $68.3 million earning elsewhere, the portal added.

The musical fantasy film was released on May 26, 2023, with makers eyeing the Memorial Day weekend for a good run at the commercial window, and the fresh launch did not disappoint.


The Little Mermaid comes over three decades after the animated film of the same name. The 1989 release was one of the best to come from Disney’s stable, so the live-action had a lot at stake.

Prior to its premiere, the new movie faced a lot of hate and abuse online since social media users disliked a dark-skinned Halle Bailey being cast as Ariel.

However, the $117.5-118 million grab from the United States and Canada poured cold water on the same. The online backlash, however, seems to have affected the global arena since the collections stand at an upsetting $68.3 million.

Apart from Bailey as mermaid princess Ariel, the cast consists of Jonah Hauer-King as her love interest and human prince Eric, Javier Bardem as her father King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as antagonist and treacherous sea witch Ursula, among others.

The Little Mermaid had a cold opener at the global box office

The Little Mermaid premiered in 4,320 theaters domestically on the Memorial Day opening weekend. After a $38 million haul on day 1 and a $95.5 million on the first weekend, it settled for a $117.5 million grab after the four-day run, in line with the projected score of $120–125 million, The Numbers said.

The Lin-Manuel Miranda-produced venture topped the commercial window and also was handed over the title of being the fifth highest opener on Memorial Day. Variety observed that 68% of the moviegoers were female, while 22% were kids.

According to Disney’s head of distribution Tony Chambers, it’s the nostalgia factor that worked for the film. He said:

“It’s a classic…You ask a lot of women or men of my age and it’s Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast that rank as their favorite animated movie. It’s a story that takes them back to their respective childhoods and this movie is the perfect opportunity for a lot of people to pass that love on to the next generation.”

Made on an expensive production budget amounting to $250 million, The Little Mermaid surely needs to maintain the momentum at the box office to touch the break-even point.

The same reception was not seen in the international markets though. As per The Hollywood Reporter, box office pundits estimated a $185.8 million global opening for the mermaid-based film.

However, even the 51 markets it premiered in could not help it go beyond a dismal $68.3 million. One of the biggest international pockets, China, contributed a very measly $2.5 million to the Rob Marshall directorial.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, the cast also comprises Daveed Diggs as King Triton's trusted servant/a crab Sebastian’s voice, Awkwafina as voice of Scuttle (Ariel’s dimwitted northern gannet friend), Jacob Tremblay as voice of Ariel’s best friend Flounder, Art Malik, and Noma Dumezweni.

The Little Mermaid may have sequels but details about them are sparse. The movie is currently running in theaters.

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Edited by Kanav Seth