Little Mermaid box office and what does it say about Asia's racism

This probably doesn’t belong in the movie forum. I’ve also not seen the film, but I haven’t seen any film in theaters since COVID began.

A week after the premier, the live action remake of the Little Mermaid is doing significantly worse in Asia.

Market Gross Aladdin % TLK % B&TB %
Indonesia $2.00M $5.78M -65.4% $4.88M -59.0% $3.40M -41.2%
Thailand $1.21M $1.98M -38.9% $3.08M -60.7% $3.01M -59.8%
Philippines $2.18M $3.51M -37.9% $5.20M -58.1% $6.04M -63.9%
Malaysia $0.59M $1.35M -56.3% $2.30M -74.4% $2.47M -76.1%
Singapore $0.47M $0.96M -51.0% $1.35M -65.2% $1.99M -75.4%
Vietnam $0.17M $1.03M -83.5% $1.32M -87.1% - -
Cambodia $55K $120K -54.2% - - - -
China $2.52M $18.6M -86.5% $54.2M -95.4% $44.5M -94.4%
Korea $2.72M $6.05M -55.0% $17.5M -84.5% $11.8M -77.0%
Japan - $10.4M - $6.89M - $9.76M -
Taiwan $0.58M $1.58M -63.3% $3.87M -85.0% $2.58M -77.5%
Hong Kong $0.62M $1.69M -63.3% $2.00M -69.0% $3.27M -81.0%
India $0.58M $3.02M -80.8% $9.37M -93.8% $1.41M -58.9%
Macau $15K $40K -62.5% - - - -
TOTAL $13.71M $45.71M -70.0% $105.07M -87.1% 80.47M -83.3%

There are plenty of backlash for the casting of the live action Little Mermaid remake. I have a hard time understanding the backlash. First of all, Halle Bailey is a beautiful actress and an amazing singer, and I’d rather have the actress be the one who sang the songs in these live action musicals.

Most of the criticism falls into 3 categories. I’ll start with the less obviously racist complaints.

  1. Against Halle’s physical appearance. Their argument is that Halle is great, but her looks don’t fit the part. They want Ariel to have flowing long hair that dances in the water, but Halle has braids. Then the next big thing they like to complain about is Halle’s eyes being too wide apart.

  2. Against inserting black actors into white parts. They would say we are not against having more movies featuring black main characters. Although why inset them into remake films replacing white characters? Wouldn’t it be better to create new stories and characters featuring black characters.

  3. Against black characters, period. Lastly, people who simply just rant on about woke culture, and vent how they are tried about black characters being shoved down their throats. These people aren’t just against Halle being cast as Ariel, but pretty much against any black main characters and movies about black people in general.

All 3 arguments are very common on PTT and DCard. Little Mermaid is doing a little worse than Aladdin in the US and Europe as well, but it’s at most 10% worse, not 60% worse.

Why would people in Taiwan care so much if the Little Mermaid is portrayed as white or black?

1 Like

Because in Asian culture, America is the land of the white people, and they think black people are the underclass and woke culture destroyed that perception.

Yeah, but if they want to wear those glasses, they shouldn’t put on a filter and see themselves as white.

If they’re not white then they can’t be racist.


There were Holo and Hakka people cannibalizing indigenous people as protection against malaria. I’d say all people are capable of racism. Whether such behavior is accepted as a societal norm is another matter.

How are box offices in general pre and post covid? Any other possible factors? Outside of online forums, do people deciding what movie to take the kids to care or even know about the issue?

1 Like

Why do you care so much about what Taiwanese think? The world doesn’t need to conform to the twisted american world view. I agree with locals that she is objectively ugly and wokeness is being shoved down everyone’s throats.

1 Like

I can’t find definitive analysis for Taiwan’s theaters, but this news implies box office has recovered to pre-COVID levels in Japan.

The movie is set to be released in Japan on June 9. So maybe we’ll know how Japan actually feels about this remake?

1 Like

Beauty is objectively subjective.


I hope this answers your question:

Or maybe he’s been reading John Donne:

John Donne. Meditation 17. [No man is an island... For whom the bell tolls, etc.]


Maybe it is a poor remake and people don’t like it because it that.
The first movie was better? Of Re-runs of moves are not so great.


You’re overthinking it. Revenue is dropping worldwide (not just in Asia) because the movie is objectively bad and has poor word-of-mouth.

Proof that Taiwan moviegoers are not ractist: Black Panther is one of the top grossing moves of all time here:

From what I’ve seen, people are pissed about Halle as Arial because she doesn’t match the character in the cartoon, which ruins fan’s nostalgia. People have very fond childhood memories of the original and they feel those memories are trampled on. Not a race thing, would have also happened with an unsuitable white actress.

Same problem occurred with Sonic, they had to redo the whole movie from scratch:


I am doubtful they had to redo the whole movie from scratch. Just reanimate him.

This makes the most sense as the reason for the backlash. Lots of kids have complained that Ariel in the movie looks nothing like Ariel in the cartoon.


100% this - it tramples over nostalgia. Also, for live-action remakes, many people love them because it brings the animated characters they’ve known and loved for many years to life. Using a main character that’s nothing like the original is always going to make a lot of people feel disappointed. If they’d changed little Mermaid from a girl to a white boy, people would still be just as angry.


I feel like Hollywood just spit out scripts from chatgpt. Almost no thought went into storyboard at all or it’s an afterthought. Maybe they should just stop making sequels and reboots and make original content. Why they won’t is a complete mystery.

1 Like

There’s a writer’s strike ongoing, that’s actually a major issue.


At least it’s crippling all the late night shows, so some good is coming of it.


I’m surprised ChatGPT is not funnier.


Only other AIs find the jokes funny.