Long Range Box Office Forecast: Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID

Photo Credits: Disney ("The Little Mermaid")

Another of Disney’s most iconic animated films gets the big screen, live action treatment when The Little Mermaid opens on Memorial Day weekend one month from now.

Additionally, several films will counter-program over the holiday frame. Preliminary analysis, forecasts, and updated tracking for upcoming releases are below.


  • The Little Mermaid was one of the first films in Disney’s 1990s second golden era run of animated films, earning $84.4 million domestically after its late 1989 bow. This remake has remained the most anticipated live-action treatments remaining from the studio’s vault of that time following the massive success of other re-dos (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, et al).

    Additionally, casting Halle Bailey, a person of color, as Ariel could help expand the original film’s appeal to a more diverse audience and potentially over-perform current box office expectations.

    With a long holiday opening weekend and minimal competition for what should be an all-ages female-driven audience, Mermaid has potential to enjoy a leggy summer run if word of mouth is positive among the multi-generation audience.
  • Lionsgate counters with the male-driven comedy About My Father, led by Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert de Niro. This could serve as a catch-all for families over the holiday.
  • Similarly, Open Road Films offers up Kandahar for Gerard Butler and action fans over the Memorial frame. It, too, will hope to catch some of the male audience not likely to gravitate toward Mermaid‘s debut.


  • Following some mixed reception toward early teaser trailers, prospects for The Little Mermaid‘s ability to capture an audience outside its base could be somewhat challenging relative to the studio’s bigger blockbusters.

    Social sentiment and trailer footprints haven’t been quite as encouraging as 2019’s Aladdin to date, and the absence of a major star name (like Will Smith in Aladdin‘s case, or Emma Watson and the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast) to headline the film may further limit general audience expansion. This also reflects the fact that, while popular, the original Mermaid was not a box office powerhouse on the level of Beauty, Aladdin, or Lion King three decades ago.

    Furthermore, the expectation for in-house Disney films to reach pre-pandemic breakout levels remains volatile to estimate as their specific and unique audience has increasingly had access to similar IP adaptations and remakes on streaming via Disney+.
  • Both About My Father and Kandahar will be in the shadow of Fast X‘s second weekend. Even though that franchise will not be playing at its former box office heights, the sequel should still be a healthy draw for action fans over Memorial Day weekend.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 4/28/23)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Distributor
5/5/2023 Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 $110,000,000 – $130,000,000 -4% $264,000,000 – $351,000,000 -4% Disney / Marvel Studios
5/5/2023 Love Again $3,000,000 – $6,000,000 -21% $13,000,000 – $24,000,000 -21% Sony / Screen Gems
5/6/2023 UFC 288: Sterling vs. Cejudo (Moderate)         Iconic Events Releasing
5/12/2023 Book Club 2 – The Next Chapter $10,000,000 – $15,000,000 -7% $30,000,000 – $49,000,000 -7% Focus Features
5/12/2023 Fool’s Paradise         Roadside Attractions
5/12/2023 Hypnotic         Ketchup Entertainment
5/12/2023 Knights of the Zodiac $3,000,000 – $7,000,000 -47% $6,000,000 – $17,500,000 -47% Sony Pictures
5/12/2023 Rally Road Racers         Viva Pictures
5/19/2023 Fast X $65,000,000 – $75,000,000   $146,000,000 – $186,000,000   Universal Pictures
5/26/2023 About My Father $5,000,000 – $10,000,000   $12,500,000 – $36,500,000   Lionsgate
5/26/2023 Kandahar $5,000,000 – $10,000,000   $14,000,000 – $31,000,000   Open Road Films
5/26/2023 The Little Mermaid (2023) $70,000,000 – $90,000,000   $235,000,000 – $305,000,000   Walt Disney Pictures
5/26/2023 The Machine         Sony Pictures / Legendary Pictures
5/26/2023 You Hurt My Feelings         A24

Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.

For more information about this article or to report any corrections, please contact the author.

Photo Credits: Disney ("The Little Mermaid")

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