Disney’s The Little Mermaid live action garners $118 mln on opening weekend

Disney’s live action movie, The Little Mermaid, brings in $118 million, ranking fifth in Memorial Day box office opening history, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.

The adapted remake of the 1989 animated classic starring Halle Bailey as Ariel has been receiving critical acclaim, despite getting a 67 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, while audience reviews scored 95 percent.

With the release of the film’s trailer last year, a debate has been sparked about whether Ariel should be played by a black or white actress, to match the original animated film. Many have argued that casting a black actress in the role helps black children feel more represented in mainstream media.

“When we cast her there was no agenda, we weren’t looking for a woman of color, we saw every ethnicity for the role – we just wanted to find the best Ariel, and so I thought these people are so small-minded,” said director Rob Marshall on casting Bailey as Ariel.

The Little Mermaid also garnered $185.8 million in its opening weekend, including international ticket.

The remake is not Disney’s first black princess, with Disney introducing its first black princess, Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog in 2009 and its 1997 remake of Cinderella casting Brandy as the classic princess.

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