The release of The Little Mermaid in China was a disastrous disappointment during its opening weekend. The live-action remake of Disney’s beloved 1989 classic, starring the talented Halle Bailey, faced a dire outcome at the box office.
While The Little Mermaid managed to garner a commendable $138 million domestically and $217 million worldwide, the same cannot be said for its reception in China.
Directed by Rob Marshall, who previously helmed other Disney projects such as Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides and Mary Poppins Returns, The Little Mermaid boasts a formidable cast supporting the qualified lead, Halle Bailey.
Jonah Hauer-King portrays Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy embodies the villainous Ursula, and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem takes on the role of King Triton. The ensemble is joined by Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. Despite the star-studded lineup, the film struggled to captivate Chinese audiences during its initial release.
The Little Mermaid Marks Disney’s Worst 2023 Opening in China
The Little Mermaid’s debut weekend was a nightmare in one of the most important and lucrative markets globally. A scarce $2.5 million was grossed, marking the country’s most significant failure for a Disney live-action remake. To put this into perspective, Aladdin collected $18.5 million, and The Jungle Book soared to a staggering $48.8 million during their respective opening days.
Compared to recent Disney releases, particularly those from the Marvel franchise, The Little Mermaid’s numbers faded. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned $5.9 million during its opening weekend, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania raked in $19 million, and the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 amassed a whopping $27 million.