“The Little Mermaid” made moviegoers want to be under the sea on Memorial Day weekend.
Disney’s live-action remake of its 1989 animated classic handily topped the competition, grossing $95.5 million on 4,320 screens in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday.
And Disney estimates that the film starring Halle Bailey as the titular mermaid Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as her nemesis, the sea witch Ursula, will fetch $117.5 million by the time the holidays are over. It ranks as the fifth largest Memorial Day weekend opening.
Displaces “Fast X” in the first place. The tenth installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise starring Vin Diesel has lagged behind most recent releases in the series, grossing $23 million domestically for a total of $108 million in two weeks for Universal Pictures.
In its fourth weekend, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” earned an estimated $20 million in North America to rank third. He has now earned $299 million domestically.
The performance of “The Little Mermaid” represents something of a comeback for Disney’s live-action animated remakes, and makes it likely that they will continue to run indefinitely. Poor reception and the pandemic caused some recent reboots to underperform or skip Disney+ theatrical releases, including “Dumbo,” “Mulan,” and “Pinocchio.”
“It works as long as the movies work,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “It’s great for Disney to be able to go into their archive by reviving these titles that started out as big hits in the animated realm.”
The opening puts it in the top tier of Disney remakes, performing similar to 2019’s “Aladdin,” though it fell well short of 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened with more than $170 million. , and 2019’s “The Lion King.”, which grossed more than $190 million in its opening weekend.
The public thought that he complied. The film earned an A CinemaScore and, according to exit polls, had more ticket buyers between the ages of 25 and 34 than children, suggesting that nostalgic adults were essential.
“The multigenerational component of this cannot be overstated,” Dergarabedian said.
Critics were more lukewarm. The film currently sits at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviewing it, Lindsey Bahr of The Associated Press called it “a somewhat drab undertaking with sparks of bioluminescence” that, like many of Disney’s remakes, “prioritized nostalgia and familiarity over compelling visual storytelling.”
She said Bailey, one half of the sister R&B duo Chloe x Halle, still glowed with a “lovely presence” and “gorgeous voice”.
Directed by Rob Marshall with a reported pre-market budget of $250 million, “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of a wayward and yearning daughter who makes a deal with the devil to trade her fins for a pair of legs. It features songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, including “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea,” which helped the original film spark the renaissance of Disney animation in the 1990s.
Fourth place went to Universal’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which continues to reach new heights in its eighth weekend. Now available to rent on VOD, it still made $6.3 million theatrically. Their cumulative total of $559 million makes Mario & Luigi the biggest earner of the year so far.
The comics couldn’t cope with Ariel when the week’s other new releases tanked.
“The Machine,” an action comedy starring comedian Bert Kreischer, finished fifth with $4.9 million domestically. And “About My Father,” the broad comedy starring Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro, came in sixth with $4.3 million.
It is not clear if “The Little Mermaid” will have legs or fins in the future. Next week brings the release of the animated “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”, with “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” arriving the following week.
Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at theaters in the US and Canada, according to Comscore. The final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. “The Little Mermaid,” $95.5 million.
2. “Fast X,” $23 million.
3. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”, 20 million dollars.
4. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” $6.3 million.
5. “The Machine,” $4.9 million.
6. “About My Father,” $4.3 million.
7. “Kandahar,” $2.4 million.
8. “You Hurt My Feelings,” $1.4 million.
9. “Evil Dead Rise,” $1 million.
10. “Book Club, The Next Chapter,” $920,000.