Saturday Update: Disney’s Little Mermaid remake is living up to most pre-release expectations with a reported $38 million opening day domestically, including Wednesday’s $850K from early access shows and Thursday’s remaining $9.45 million of total previews entering the true weekend.
Friday’s true haul of $27.7 million is a strong early indicator that internal weekend holds will be robust. Getting into the math of it, that represents a 2.93 multiple from Thursday, expectedly below Aladdin‘s 3.48x in 2019 but well ahead of a franchise tentpole like Avatar: The Way of Water (2.13x).
From here, projections look like a possible $34 million on Saturday, and if Sunday eases similarly to Aladdin‘s pre-Memorial Day hold, Mermaid could see over $33 million that day before more than $28 million on Monday.
Again, these figures bake in similar holds as Aladdin from here on. That is not guaranteed, nor is it a huge task given Mermaid‘s strong 95 percent audience score as of Saturday morning.
For the weekend, that brings current early estimates to $105.8 million three-day and $134.1 million four-day hauls. Please note these are not from the studio. These would be enough to land the third best Memorial Weekend opening in history, topping X-Men: The Last Stand ($102.75 million for the 3-day) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126.9 million for the 4-day).
As noted in final forecasts, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($114.7 million / $139.8 million) isn’t impossible to reach, though now on the far end of bullish projections at the moment.
Meanwhile, Fast X backed into second place to begin its sophomore frame with $6.3 million yesterday, giving it a $91.24 million eight-day domestic haul. The sequel looks on track to land just under or over $30 million for the four-day weekend.
In third place, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 posted another $5.4 million for a 22-day cume of $284.9 million. Week-to-week retention is stronger than expected and likely buoyed by some Disney boost via Mermaid bookings, so internal weekend holds may be slightly volatile. That said, a four-day frame over final forecasts and approaching $27 million looks possible at the moment.
Among openers, The Machine led the way on Friday with $2.2 million, followed by About My Father ($1.46 million), Kandahar ($920K), and You Hurt My Feelings ($474K). All figures includes any relevant previews.
Friday Update: Disney reports this morning that The Little Mermaid earned $10.3 million from Thursday’s domestic previews, including $850K from Wednesday’s limited early access screenings.
That registers 47 percent ahead of Aladdin‘s $7 million Thursday-only previews leading into Memorial Day weekend four years ago. It also ranks 7th all time among G- and PG-rated films.
For additional comparison points, last summer’s Minions: The Rise of Gru earned $10.8 million from previews, and 2019’s Toy Story 4 pulled $12 million. Both of those films notably opened deeper into summer.
As for what this figure means toward weekend trajectories, much is still up in the air. Prior forecasts via independent models called for a $130 million-plus four-day opening, while the studio expected over $120 million.
Given the increasingly frontloaded nature of previews, it’s unfair to automatically expect Mermaid will follow the same Thursday-to-Friday pattern as 2019’s Aladdin. That said, mid-range estimates based on Thursday alone still indicate a likely $100 million-plus three-day and $125 million-plus four-day bow.
More bullish models point to higher figures, of course, but it’s very early in the weekend. Initial audience scores are very positive at 95 percent, via Rotten Tomatoes.
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