Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid remake has officially surpassed the half-a-billion dollar mark globally. A larger picture suggests the film could still be considered a financial failure despite what may look like success. With a lofty production budget half the size of its earnings, it is challenging to use the term “success.” As so studiously pointed out by DisneyDining.com earlier today, “Depending on what sources you read, you’ll either be led to believe the film is a massive flop or an incredible success. The truth is, neither is true. The film has taken five weeks to earn $500 million. That is enough to turn a profit, but it isn’t enough to call it a success. The film had a production budget of $250 million. Then there is the marketing budget to factor in, which was another $140 million. To break even, The Little Mermaid needed to bring in $390 million. It did that.”
This is the unvarnished truth, but much like everything else in the world, fans remain entirely divided on the value of The Little Mermaid and where it stands regarding being a productive member of Disney’s catalog, but not based in reason. The real truth lies in that the divisive perspective of viewers doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the film at all. Ultimately, without sugarcoating it, determining the quality of the film is sadly being viewed through a racially charged lens, and social media remains at odds over the idea that the film is considered successful or a flop.
Movie-goers who consider the portrayal of an African-American Ariel as a publicity stunt to fit the “woke” agenda bash the film. In contrast, others who view the film as a triumph for representation celebrate it. There’s an apparent divide when considering the viewer’s approach to accepting new ideas. But what about those who simply did not enjoy the movie?
the racists are crying rn
— ruben (@FWGRANDEE) June 25, 2023
@PopBase on Twitter
Of course, both sides are vocal, even boisterous, even though the movie actually turned a profit, albeit not a substantial one. While one side screams in celebration, the other points out that the film did not meet expectations, and they are labeled racist for their opinion. This presents a unique situation in which those who genuinely have become fatigued with Disney’s current live-action endeavors must either accept unwarranted ridicule or simply fall in line and holster their opinions.
why aren't those so called racists crying over Spiderverse making more then this?
— Sparkle (The Flash Era) (@ssparkle05) June 25, 2023
@FWGRANDEE on Twitter
On the other hand, in the real world, there is a demographic who is unaccepting of casting the fictional character lead as black. They approached the film negatively before giving it a chance because they couldn’t see past the newest version of Ariel. Because of these people, expressing an opinion based solely on your enjoyment of the film or its financial status is no longer viable. It has become a movement entirely based on the support of an African American lead or not. To many, there is no in-between.
Y’all they having a whole math and marketing class in the replies just to prove the little mermaid is a flop…..how racist and jobless do you gotta be HXBXBXBXBXBX pic.twitter.com/wHNFKyUoUd
— Do you eva wonder? (@nayathedisciple) June 26, 2023
@nayathedisciple on Twitter
I’ll happily put myself on the chopping block for illustration purposes. I did not enjoy the film. I thought Halle Bailey was excellent, but I am quite exhausted with Disney’s attempts at garnering success with stories I loved growing up. Many are like me. They don’t see the movie as a tactic to weaponize social justice issues for profit. They don’t consider it as Disney’s in-your-face attempt at persuading social equality (why this would upset someone is beyond me). They also don’t think the film’s financial failure is due to cultural representation. Many fans prefer to approach the film’s success in measurable parameters outside of skewed public opinion, and these data-driven evaluations leave much to be desired in the film’s failed effort to put forth a likable product.
That's it's still making money despite white supremacists trying to boycott it
— 👑 (@Inbetweener20) June 26, 2023
@acam1215 on Twitter
Obviously, this evaluation has little to do with race. The new take on Ariel was fresh, and I enjoyed the differences in the story. However, I felt the overall film lacked what made The Little Mermaid memorable in the first place; it was a semi-original story that we had yet to see on screen before. Viewers from both sides of the debate are barely considering the exhaustion of Disney putting the same products in our faces and expecting consumers to buy them, especially when we think that movie theatre prices are ridiculously high. The argument for fans comes down to race. If you don’t like the movie or agree that it succeeded, you’re racist. If you enjoyed it and supported Disney, you’re “woke.” That’s the choice you’re left with. The debate over the success of Disney’s The Little Mermaid paints an accurate picture of the experience of real human beings today. It’s not just about a movie. Gone are the days of simply enjoying a Disney movie with friends or family.