When it was released in theaters, many people wanted to condemn it. The live-action Little Mermaid was, for many, an unnecessary and “woke” film, which is why it couldn’t succeed. Unfortunately for them, history has proven them wrong.
Disney has proudly announced that its controversial remake of The Little Mermaid has accumulated 16 million viewings in its first five days on Disney+, defining “viewings” as the total streaming time divided by the duration of the movie.
According to the company, the live-action musical starring Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy is now the most-watched premiere on the streaming service since Hocus Pocus 2 late last year.
A movie that got off to a very rough start
Released in theaters on May 26, The Little Mermaid is a live-action reinterpretation of the 1989 film of the same name, featuring new songs and modified lyrics.
Disney’s appeal to nostalgia, a common strategy during times of crisis when they want to bet on a sure thing, has paid off at the box office: The Little Mermaid has grossed $570 million worldwide during its theatrical run.
This made it one of the highest-grossing films of 2023 up to this point. And now, that positive trend has translated into Disney+’s streaming numbers. Walt Disney’s team can be pleased with the results.
Historically, Disney has been cautious about sharing streaming viewership numbers, often refusing to disclose data on its original productions.
However, it appears that the House of Mouse is willing to change this policy if the numbers are impressive enough, perhaps to attract potential advertisers. In this case, it makes perfect sense, especially considering the amount of criticism the movie received in the weeks leading up to its release.
Ahsoka is the other winner of this September
Last month, Disney announced that the first episode of its original Star Wars series, Ahsoka, had 14 million views, making it the most popular series on the streaming service during its premiere week.
There were no such cheerful announcements following the release of Peter Pan and Wendy on Disney+ in April. The publication of these numbers also brings attention back to the strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild. It’s a tough time for the film industry.