From Seas to Sorrow: Review-Bombing Drowns ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Box Office
After launching with a lower-than-expected $163 million three-day opening at the global box office –$95.5 million domestic and $68 million international– Disney’s much-awaited live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has found itself in an unfavorable position, at least for the meantime.
It seems that the movie’s moving storyline, stunning visuals, and captivating melodies were not enough to dissuade review bombers, mostly from overseas markets, from splashing it with highly unfavorable –and somewhat racist– reviews which are really taking its toll on box office earnings (review-bombing is an act of coordinated bad internet evaluations to hurt a product’s economic performance).
Despite boasting a 95% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, other movie reviews services like IMDB, France’s AlloCine, and South Korea’s Naver have issued warnings when unwarranted unfavorable user reviews surfaced in dubious profusion throughout the launch of the Rob Marshall-helmed remake. IMDB, in particular, was forced to employ an “alternate weighting calculation” on its U.S, UK, Brazilian, Mexican, and Canadian sites due to the presence of “unusual voting activity.”
Before The Little Mermaid‘s debut in Germany, Moviepilot displayed a rating of .7 out of 10, which was far lower than any comparable film. The movie had similar experiences on Naver, in South Korea where the scorecard dipped below 2 at a point. Its Chinese performance is even more worrying. The pitiful $2.5 million opening there and the fact that an audience score is yet to be recorded on Maoyon is even more worrying.
Nevertheless, The Little Mermaid’s lukewarm box office opening is not fatal to its overall potential and appeal. Movies opening mildly and going on to outperform are not uncommon –Aquaman (2018) and Joker (2019) opened with less than $100m domestically but went on to be billion-dollar movies. Similar review-bombing campaigns were done to Captain Marvel (2019) and The Suicide Squad (2021) and still the former opened with glorious numbers, grossing over $1.1 billion and the latter is one of the most loved DC movies. With its $ 250 million production budget, The Little Mermaid can still swim happily. For Now.
The Little Mermaid was released on May 25 in cinemas worldwide!
Run-time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Distribution Company: Walt Disney Studios
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer King, Javier Bardem, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs, Noma Dumezweni, and Art Malik.