'The Little Mermaid' Remake Earns $118 Million in Debut

Disney's live-action remake of 'The Little Mermaid' has made a splash at the box office, earning an estimated $118 million domestically over the Memorial Day weekend, with an estimated $96 million coming from weekend sales. The film, which had a production budget of $250 million, had an ethnically diverse audience in its opening weekend, with 35% of ticket buyers being Black, 33% white, 23% Latino, and 9% Asian. The film opened overseas to less enthused crowds, bringing in $68.3 million from 51 markets.

The live-action remake, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, and Daveed Diggs, comes nearly 35 years after the animated film was first released. Last year, when Disney released the trailer showing Bailey, a Black actress and singer, as the star of the live-action film, she and Disney faced backlash over whether Ariel should be Black or white. Initial ticket sales show a large Black audience for the film.

The Little Mermaid had the fifth highest Memorial Day opening in history, following in the footsteps of fellow remake, Top Gun: Maverick, which had the best Memorial Day opening in history last year with a $160.5 million weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull round out the top three best performing films to open on Memorial Day weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.

In other box office news, Fast X, the tenth installation of the Fast & Furious franchise, took the No. 2 spot this weekend, bringing in $23 million over the weekend and $28.7 million over the four-day holiday, while Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 took the No. 3 spot, bringing in $20 million over the weekend and $25.3 million over the four-day holiday.


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