How ‘The Little Mermaid’ Turned the Tide, From Box Office Blues to Disney+ Splash

The Unprecedented Rise from Theatrical Woe to Streaming Glory

When we think of a phoenix rising from the ashes, rarely do we relate it to movies, and yet 2023’s live-action “The Little Mermaid” has done just that. After a lukewarm response at the box office, this aquatic tale starring Halle Bailey has managed to make waves on Disney+.

The Box Office: Not Always a Predictor of Success

“The Little Mermaid”, Disney’s reimagining of their iconic 1989 animation, centers around Ariel, a curious mermaid played with vigor by Halle Bailey. Ariel’s quest for legs, love, and a life on land couldn’t push the film to rule the box office, even though it secured its place as the tenth-highest-grossing movie of 2023. Critics gave the film a mixed reception, and it couldn’t achieve the expected box office splash.

But, like the proverbial plot twist we all adore, there was a turning tide awaiting.

A Streaming Success Story

When Disney+ welcomed “The Little Mermaid” to its vast ocean of content on September 6, little did we know it was setting the stage for a massive turnaround. Walt Disney Company couldn’t contain its excitement, revealing that the movie garnered an impressive 16 million views in its initial five days on the platform. To put this into context, these numbers rival the streaming debut of “Hocus Pocus 2”, which until then enjoyed the spot for the most successful premiere on Disney+.

“The Little Mermaid’s strong performance on Disney+ could potentially redeem its turbulent theatrical journey. Remember, this was a film whose trailers raked in more views than many of Disney’s other live-action marvels. However, the shadow of the 1989 original loomed large, and its release during a saturated summer didn’t do it any favors either. The box office was riddled with choices, and the audience found itself gravitating towards fresher narratives.

The Potential Ripple Effect

Streaming platforms have this unique ability to breathe new life into films that might not have fared as expected in cinemas. And with “The Little Mermaid” now accessible to a wider audience from the comfort of their homes, there’s hope for a renewed appreciation for the film. A flourishing Disney+ run might not only boost its home release prospects but could also propel the sales of associated merchandise.

Moreover, with such promising numbers, Disney might just have the validation it needs to continue investing in live-action remakes, trusting that even if the theatrical release doesn’t set records, the streaming waters are always welcoming.

To quote Ariel, perhaps it’s about finding where the people are. And for now, they seem to be comfortably nestled on their couches, enjoying the magic of Disney+ streaming.