“Will it affect Box Office Numbers?”
The Little Mermaid Releases May 26, 2023 in theaters across the world, starring Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy. “We haven’t seen a black girl on a Disney movie since Tiana in The Princess and the Frog,” says Faith, a 19 year-old Edward Waters College student. “It was so life-changing for me when I saw a character that looked like me.”
A Classic, Retold
The beloved story is based off the classic original animation released in 1989. The film grossed $211 million at the box office and became the best seller for home videos. The youngest sibling of King Triton’s daughter, Ariel, a beautiful spirited mermaid ventures out on her own and discovers treasures deep in the sea. Upon her journey she saves Prince Eric, and falls in love at first sight. She desires the life of a human to pursue her love interest so she makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula. In exchange, Ursula steals Ariel’s voice.
The initial press release on the live action film brought much controversy, thus sending the Internet into a social media frenzy of comments from all walks of life. Unfortunately, there were a lot of negative comments about the new Ariel being African American. Some were in shock at the public uproar and for others it was expected.
Hope For The Underrepresented
Sasha Carrington, CEO of Women Ahead says, “ Why is that when a black girl is given a chance to shine and represent how beautiful we are, she’s told she’s not beautiful enough? This world makes up all kinds of people who represent beauty and talent and it’s about time the media starts to show what the world really looks like in reality. Seeing this film will change every little girl of color’s imagery of herself and how the world currently sees them. It’s time they know that they are beautiful, and deserve the same opportunities as everyone one else.”
Regardless of the many non-supporters, the live action film is expected to just as successful if not more than the original animation. Disney is proud of Halle’s powerful performance. Music composer for the live action film, Alan Menken, says, “Her voice and performance style is a magical combination that brought me to tears as I watched and listened to her. She’s an Ariel who breaks your heart and will live powerfully in everyone’s hearts.”
Halle’s performance at the Grammys put her on the Hollywood radar for the talented singer-songwriter. She wowed the Execs at her screen test. The character had to embody, innocence, vulnerability, and strength. They knew Halle possessed all of these traits and was perfect for the role of Ariel. It is an amazing step that Disney is taking by subverting expectations casting a young woman of color in a role that was expected by the mainstream consumers to be filled by a Caucasian actress.
Tickets are on sale now for the release of the Live Action Film The Little Mermaid, in theatres everywhere May 26, 2023.