‘The Little Mermaid’ Crushes Memorial Day Box Office With $118 Million Opening

The Halle Bailey-starring film is further proof that Disney's live-action blueprint is a resounding success.


Halle Bailey attends the Australian premiere of "The Little Mermaid" at State Theatre on May 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Disney’s live-action film The Little Mermaid had a huge debut at box office during Memorial Day weekend.

According to Variety, it pulled in a massive $118 million debut over the four-day holiday weekend, making it the fifth highest Memorial Day opening of all time.

In the international market, The Little Mermaid grossed $68.3 million across 51 material markets. The film had a budget of $250 million, so it’ll need to do a bit more to break even, but Disney seems confident.

“It’s a classic,” said Tony Chambers, Disney’s head of distribution. “You ask a lot of women or men of my age and it’s Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast that rank as their favorite animated movie. It’s a story that takes them back to their respective childhoods and this movie is the perfect opportunity for a lot of people to pass that love on to the next generation.”

Disney has even more hope to believe The Little Mermaid will be a hit given the successful history the company has with live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King

“This gives Disney the green light to keep mining its vault,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “With an opening this big, I think you’re going to keep seeing these live-action reboots.” 

The Little Mermaid was directed by Rob Marshall and stars Hale Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs and more.

Fast X took second place with an estimated $23 million this weekend and $28.7 million over the four-day holiday. In the U.S., the film has made an underwhelming $113.6 million, but is expected to cross $500 million overseas. Disney also came in third place with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 making $20 million and an estimated $25.3 million for the four-day holiday, pushing its domestic total to a sizable $300 million.

Latest in Pop Culture