‘Ratings Terrorism:’ Overseas Response To ‘The Little Mermaid’

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Fans and haters turned out to local movie theaters this weekend to be some of the first to see Disney’s live-action remake of the 1989 classic The Little Mermaid. Social Media has been hyping this movie up for years, and the results are finally in – The Little Mermaid is a smash hit…in North America at least. Pop Crave announced on Twitter this afternoon that director Rob Marshall’s adaptation is currently the “#1 movie in the world.”

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Referred to all over Twitter as a “global phenomenon,” The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey as the red-headed mermaid Ariel is projected to make over $118 million on its debut weekend. The Hollywood Reporter notes that it is Disney’s fifth-biggest opening of all time and should make another $60 million by Monday, Memorial Day. Variety reported The Little Mermaid made $38 million just on opening day, Friday, May 26.

Overseas Markets Boycott a Black Mermaid

While the film has faced a ton of backlash from Bailey’s casting, to the CGI quality, and to plot updates, US audiences are having an overwhelmingly positive reaction to seeing the film in its entirety. The movie, however, has met with a lopsided reaction from overseas markets. In fact, audiences in different markets are actively fighting against the success of the film.

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Deadline cited “racially-tinged commentary” and an effort by internet trolls to bomb ratings of the film online. There have been anti-black social media campaigns, even though there were complaints of white-washing Halle Bailey in promo posters in China. China wasn’t the only country to suffer this discrepancy. France, Germany, and Korea, also suffered targeted action against The Little Mermaid. In Germany the film had a .7 out of 10 before it even released to theaters!

Movie Rating Site Responds to “Ratings Terrorism”

Deemed “ratings terrorism” by Korea’s SBS News, Deadline explains that there was a “trend of negative reviews receiving hundreds of likes, and positive reviews getting hundreds of thumbs down.”

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In reference to The Little Mermaid (2023) the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) posted this warning,

Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied.

IMDb explains,

Although we accept and consider all votes received by users, not all votes have the same impact (or ‘weight’) on the final rating. When unusual voting activity is detected, an alternate weighting calculation may be applied in order to preserve the reliability of our system.

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The hyper focus on Ariel’s ethnicity for the live action remake has been up for debate in the US for years now, but audience turn out showed internet trolls wouldn’t get the best of the domestic release. Other countries however, seem to have painted a different story.

The Little Mermaid also stars Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, and Jonah Hauer-King. What’re your thoughts on the endless Little Mermaid drama now that it’s finally hit theaters?

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!