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Box office: ‘The Little Mermaid’ swims to Memorial Day debut worth $118 million-plus


The little Mermaid doing laps around the competition in the Memorial Day weekend box office.

Disney’s live-action remake of the iconic animated film is sprinting to an estimated $118 million domestic debut, the holiday’s fifth-biggest opening of all time, according to studio projections. (Rival studios show Little Mermaid opening to $120 million plus.) The three-day gross is an estimated $96 million for a $185.8 million worldwide launch through Monday. On Saturday, the film appeared to make a whopping $125 million over the long holiday weekend, but domestic estimates changed.

Overseas, Little Mermaid started with a disappointing $68.3 million from 51 markets, including China, where the film drowned with a launch of just $2.5 million. Box office experts say the social media campaign against the casting of a black actress like Ariel could have an impact in Asian markets and elsewhere.

In North America, The little Mermaid achieved a promising A CinemaScore. It will be the first summer tentpole in 2023 to target women, who make up 68 percent of ticket buyers. The film also attracts an ethnically diverse audience; To date, 35 percent of ticket buyers have been Black, followed by White (33 percent), Hispanic (23 percent), and Asian/Other (9 percent). Black moviegoers significantly overindexed, while white moviegoers underindexed.

Rob Marshall directs the live-action adaptation. The new Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, the feisty young mermaid who makes a dangerous deal with the evil sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to experience life on land and meet dashing Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). However, the pact poses a great risk to her father’s water-rich kingdom.

The cast also includes Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni and Art Malik.

Bailey’s performance as Ariel was praised by critics amid a racist backlash from social media commentators protesting the casting of a black actress in the title role. Disney insiders don’t expect these protests to hurt the movie in North America, but are waiting to see how the movie plays overseas.

In recent years Top gun: Maverick scored the biggest Memorial Day opening of all time with $160.5 million, followed by that of 2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At the End of the World ($153 million), 2008s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($152 million) and that of 2006 X-Men: The Last Battle ($122 million).

Universals Fast X easily entered No. 2 as it crossed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office in its first 12 days of release. The picture grossed $28.5 million for the four days and $22.9 million for the three, representing a 66 percent drop from its opening weekend. Fast X will end Monday with an estimated worldwide gross of $507.3 million after making another $24.3 million internationally for a fantastic overseas total of $399.3 million.

Disney and Marvel took the No. 3 spot with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3which is expected to cross the $300 million threshold domestically in its fourth weekend after making an estimated $25.3 million over the four days.

Universal and Illuminations The Super Mario Bros. movie placed No. 4 in its eighth weekend with $6.2 million for the four days.

Legendary and action comedy from Screen Gems The machine and Robert De Niro comedy About my father are also opening nationwide, but are not expected to be big earners.

The machine, from Screen Gems, stars Bert Kreischer and is inspired by the comedian’s stand-up act of the same name. Mark Hamill will star in the film, which is en route to a four-day opening of $5.8 million from 2,409 theaters and a fifth-place finish.

from Lionsgate About my father looks set to come in at number 6 with an estimated opening of $5.3 million from 2,464 theaters.

New war film about Afghanistan kandaharfrom Open Road/Briarcliff, comes in at number 7 with about $3 million from 2,105 theaters, followed by the dramedy from A24 and Nicole Holofcener You hurt my feelingswhich is looking at a $1.8 million four-day debut from 912 locations.

Grosses can shift Monday morning.

May 28, 7:30 pm: Updated with revised grosses.

The original version of this story was published on May 27 at 8:13 am

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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