While The Little Mermaid was met with mixed critical reactions, one element in the live-action adaptation has earned almost universal praise: Halle Bailey’s lead performance as Ariel. But apparently even an uplifting, star-making turn isn’t enough to convert would-be audience members who just can’t get over the fact that Disney cast Bailey in the role.
Stories in the Hollywood Reporter and CNN both note that, as the latter puts it, “The Little Mermaid has bombed with moviegoers in China and South Korea amid racist critiques in some quarters over the casting of Black actress Halle Bailey as main character Ariel,” giving specific examples from social media and online sources in both countries. According to CNN, in China, it’s made just $3.6 million since May 26, while in South Korea, The Little Mermaid has pulled in just $4.4 million since May 24.
Elsewhere in the world, including “other Asian markets” like the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as countries in Europe and South America, the film has performed well. But as Gizmodo reported last week, The Little Mermaid has also been targeted by negative “review-bombing” on sites like IMDB, just the latest incident in an ongoing, decidedly racist online campaign against the film.
Update: June 6, 8:30 p.m.: Updated to note the CNN article includes examples of social media and online sources in both countries. Headline was also updated.
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