The Little Mermaid in the face of racist backlash over the casting of black actresses Part of the foreign market is submerged Halle Bailey plays Ariel.
The movie opened with only $3.6 million in China is the worst-performing Disney live-action adaptation to date. The film also performed poorly in South Korea, where it grossed $4.4 million as of June 4. Sources close to the movie, as well as
Box Office analysts, say that Disney knows the Little Mermaid may face challenges, But amazed at the level of backlash and its impact.
The social media outcry over Bailey’s casting was particularly strong in both markets. Sources believe this led to unverified audience reviews bashing the film. In South Korea, such comments even hit the headlines .
Negative viewer comments also flooded Chinese social media. Just before the film’s release in the country, the government-affiliated Global Times published an editorial lambasting Disney’s motives.
“The controversy surrounding Disney’s forced inclusion of minorities in its classic films is not racism but its lazy and irresponsible storytelling tactics,” the op-ed said. “Many Chinese netizens said that, like “Snow White”, the image of the mermaid princess in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales has long been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and accepting the new cast is really unconstrained.”
The editorial further questioned Disney “Political correctness” is motivated by economic interests or a genuine concern for representation.
Bailey in summer 2017 After an extensive search including hundreds of actresses.
“She immediately set the bar so high that no one could surpass it,” director Rob Marshall told THR. “We saw every race. There was no agenda for casting women of color. It was really just, ‘Let’s find the best Ariel,’ and Halle got the part.”
Bailey’s performance was well received by critics and (verified) audiences alike.
In China, Hollywood’s revenue has dropped significantly since the pandemic. The biggest hits in the US so far this year are Fast X and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, both close to the end, totaling about $125 million dollars and $53.8 million dollars. Those are solid numbers, but well below each franchise’s predecessors. F9: The Fast Saga (2019) earned $217 million and F8 (2017 ) took $392.8 million USD in China; and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2016) brings $100 million. All other U.S. pillars have fared much worse this year.
But even against the collective backdrop of China’s diminished potential, the scale of The Little Mermaid’s failure is palpable. King of the Jungle (2016) and The Lion King (2019) is a downright blockbuster in China earning $2019 million and $100 million, and Aladdin (2019) gets stable $. 5000000. Even the Cruella that was released during the pandemic made $26 million, far more than The Little Mermaid will eventually be.
“Disappointing,” said the Little Mermaid insider.
Add a source outside the studio that tracks the performance of Hollywood campaign pictures: “We did not anticipate a racist response, and as a result, the pictures did not perform well internationally.”
In the US, The Little Mermaid has been doing well despite protests from some over Bailey’s casting. The film’s first box office gross exceeded 186 hundred million dollars days, and rivaling the groundbreaking reality show Aladdin. On its second weekend, Little Mermaid estimates are down 58 in North America for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hit the market.
Box office analysts think The Little Mermaid tops out at $217 Wan Guo. Aladdin has made $392.$6 million at the domestic box office.
Overseas, Aladdin reached $695.1 million for a global total of $1. 05 Billion. However, South Korea contributed $ million, while China contributed $10. 5000000. Where The Little Mermaid lands internationally remains to be seen. It closed with $.人失望的$ 26.300 万(迪士尼曾指望At least $91 million). The good news: The female tilt is holding up well in some markets and continues to perform particularly well in Latin America.
Japan is another major market for The Little Mermaid , which will open in the next few days (Aladdin is earning a decent $80.5 million). Good start in North America. The studio also continues to focus on the accolades Bailey has earned.
As for cracking down on dishonest user reviews, observers say it’s harder to do internationally.
“At home, you can search by verified [audience] reviews,” noted one box office analyst. “Internationally, you can’t.”