The Walt Disney Company has achieved a new record with its upcoming 2023 live-action film, The Little Mermaid, which premieres on May 26.
Although the first teaser trailer for the reimagined take from director Rob Marshall debuted months back, Disney released the first official trailer the same day as Halle Bailey (Ariel) and Melissa McCarthy (Ursula)’s attended the Oscars and promoted the project. Already, fans are excited about the classic fairytale adaptation, which will feature new music from composer Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda and stars Awkwafina, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs, and Javier Bardem in supporting roles.
Just like the original 1989 Disney Renaissance favorite, Bailey’s Ariel will enact a contract with the treacherous sea witch against the wishes of her father, King Triton’s advisor Sebastian and her friend Flounder. Once on land, Ariel will discover a world of human delights and curiosities while attempting to win the heart of her prince.
Moreover, dazzling new special effects will help bring us into part of Ariel’s world under the sea, including impressive CGI for her tail, hair, Ursula’s tentacles, and the ocean itself. However, fans recently criticized the more realistic appearances of Scuttle, Flounder, and the royal crab advisor for waffling awkwardly between the line of fully animated, anthropomorphic imagining and hyperrealism.
Even so, great excitement for one of the most nostalgic Disney films of all time is clear, based on the initial response to its first official trailer. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it reached a total of 108 million views within just its first 24 hours online.
In fact, this marks a turning point for Walt Disney Animation, becoming one of its most prominent releases since 2019’s The Lion King preview at 130 million. Historically, it’s also one of the most viewed Disney trailers in history.
Additionally, the record proves a good omen for Disney, whose CEO Bob Iger recently decided to cut back on spin-offs and sequels across the company’s many media outlets and divisions in the wake of budget cuts and lackluster responses to releases like Cruella (2022) and Pinnochio (2022). Even as the future for other previously successful remakes like Aladdin 2 seems uncertain, Ariel remains a strong point in its IP repertoire.