Previously, DisneyDining reported on the first record broken by the live-action film before its May 26 theatrical release. Debuted during the Academy Awards on March 10, 2023, the first official trailer for The Little Mermaid (2023) achieved record-breaking numbers online, amassing a total of 108 million views within just its first 24 hours online.
In fact, this marks one of the most viewed trailers for a Disney film in the Walt Disney Company’s century-long history! Certainly, audiences have much to be excited about as director Rob Marshall and a musical team of composer Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda promise new and exciting updates to the 1989 Disney Renaissance classic.
Moreover, beyond expanding worldbuilding, musical numbers, and elements of the original fairytale, the romance between Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) and Ariel (Halle Bailey) will gain increased significance as we explore his backstory and similarities to the mer-girl. Although Disney promises to enrich the beloved story of King Triton (Javier Bardeem)’s youngest daughter on her quest to become part of the human world via new special effects, such as CGI, fans have criticized its more hyperrealistic renderings of previously anthropomorphic cartoon characters such as Flounder (Jacob Tremblay), Scuttle (Awkwafina), and Sebastian the crab (Daveed Diggs).
In addition, the racist backlash against African American Bailey’s Ariel for her skin tone, hairstyle, color, etc., has prompted even Disney star Josh Gad to get involved, criticizing those who would judge the film so harshly over racial bias. As a result, the earliest teaser trailer has received 3.5 million dislikes, more than twice the amount of positive responses, since its release by Disney.
Unfortunately, history seems to repeat itself now, with the first official trailer breaking yet another record, though this one is not quite so beneficial. Assumably related to this unfair prejudice, the new official trailer stands at over 1 million dislikes in the last few weeks.
From how some critics describe the “reasoning” behind the dislikes, it feels less like a natural reaction to elements of the film and more like a targeted campaign to sink the film before it has begun. Similar to the #SaveSplashMountain ordeal ahead of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure reaching Disney Parks, perhaps these nay-sayers think such a documented response will prevent the movie’s release or force Disney’s hand.
Luckily, the Walt Disney Company has not expressed any intentions of giving into the unfortunate #NotMyAriel movement, allowing Bailey’s rendition to soon become part of our world!