Opinion: Disney’s Decision To Make ‘The Little Mermaid’ Exclusionary Is Why The Film Bombed At The Box Office
Disney is finding out the hard way that playing the racism card was not the winning hand that would lead them to box office success.
The Walt Disney Company is finding out the hard way that playing the racism card was not the winning hand that would lead them to box office success.
One of the biggest lies that progressives love to tell the world is that, before the age of Donald Trump, television and movies just weren’t inclusive enough for (insert victim class here).
The reason why (insert victim class here) couldn’t enjoy movies, television, comic books, etc, before the year 2017, was because they didn’t have anyone who looked like them. Because, as proven by over a century of entertainment — without a shadow of a doubt — we are simply unable to identify with anything that doesn’t look exactly like us.
The initial lie that got us to this point is that Halle Bailey being cast in the role of Ariel for the 2023 live action remake of The Little Mermaid made it more ‘inclusive’ for modern audiences. The truth is, however, that the film was always inclusive.
In 1989, The Walt Disney Company subsidiary Buena Vista Pictures changed the game with an animated movie titled The Little Mermaid. The film was about a 16-year-old mermaid princess named Ariel, who is it fascinated with the human world despite the warnings from her father King Triton.
Creating one of the most beloved Disney princesses in history, The Little Mermaid took the world by storm upon release. Everyone all over the world loved Ariel, so much so the film became Disney’s first big Blockbuster hit — allowing the company to pave the way for more Disney princesses and animated films throughout the 1990s.
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No matter where you lived, it was undeniable that The Little Mermaid was a worldwide phenomenon; everyone loved Ariel. In the immortal words of former basketball player Rasheed Wallace, “Ball don’t lie,” and neither do box office numbers. Ariel was an inclusive princess that everyone could identify with.
That was, of course, until progressive activists came along.
Given the company’s current record with live-action remakes, it was only a matter of time until the suits at Disney jumped at the chance to reimagine The Little Mermaid — one that pandered to progressive activists that would take offense if a white redhead was cast in the lead role. Instead, Disney execs decided they were going to allow a black woman be the face of this new project property.
Remember, kids, there has never been a black Disney princess. Ever! This was the first time this has ever happened…
Once Halle Bailey was cast in the lead role, the executives decided to take an established Disney princess, that was already inclusive in her own right, and make her exclusive. Disney higher-ups turned a blind eye to the opinions of the world, pandering instead to the female black American demographic.
Disney decided that it was going to do its usual marketing tactic of trying to get ahead of the backlash of a casting decision that they made in the first place. Anticipating the backlash from people who weren’t going to be thrilled with the race-swapping of the iconic character, the company opted to label as racists those who opposed the idea.
If you had a problem with Ariel being a black woman, you must be a white supremacist. There’s no other logical explanation that anyone can come to. If you hate black Ariel, you hate black women. Riveting strategy, Disney.
For a group of people who always tells us that it’s (insert current year) and “we have to grow, we have to learn,” they’re the ones who overlook the reality that you can’t shame people into giving up their money in (insert current year). Rallying their intended target demographic to spend their money at the theaters, while simultaneously attacking the character of their opposition, did not end up becoming the strategy Disney relied on rake in millions at the box office.
Why wouldn’t Disney think that this would work?
The film had the media in its back pocket. Any negative reaction to the movie would be disregarded as “review bombing” — a term mainstream media created in an effort to describe negative reactions to films pushing an agenda that aligns with their own.
Mainstream media complained about The Little Mermaid‘s IMDB rating because people had the audacity to leave negative reviews. Ever since 2019’s Captain Marvel, the media corporations have unashamedly rooted for Disney films to the point Rotten Tomatoes changed their reviewing process for audiences; thus preventing the world from seeing a rotten audience score.
When you’re playing this kind of defense for a multinational billion dollar corporation, there is no reason why said company, whichever it may be, would think that their plan wouldn’t succeed. Black women across the United States did come out and show strong support for The Little Mermaid remake and, outside of a couple of fights here and there, Disney did appeal to its intended audience.
The problem is, they didn’t appeal to anyone else. The Little Mermaid turned out to be one of Disney’s worse performing movies overseas. As of this writing, the live-action remake made a putrid $3.6 million dollars in China and $4.4 million dollars since swimming into theaters on May 24.
Why have countries in the Asian region rejected the new and progressive The Little Mermaid? Spoiler alert: it’s racism. The Hollywood Reporter and CNN blamed China and South Korea for the film’s poor performance, claiming that the film was met with racist backlash. Namely the fact that the aforementioned countries questioned Disney’s decision to race-swap Ariel.
It seems like China, Korea, and Japan didn’t take kindly to having their childhood memories of The Little Mermaid be trampled by aggressive Left-wing politics.
“The controversy surrounding Disney’s forced inclusion of minorities in classic films is not about racism, but its lazy and irresponsible storytelling strategy,” noted an op-ed published by the Global Times, a China-backed news organization.
When even Communist China is against your agenda, you may want to reevaluate your entire strategy.
But this is Disney we are talking about. Disney is looking at one of their worst box office bombs in the last 10 years and they need a scapegoat: racism.
Because Asia didn’t love the new and improved black Ariel, unlike black women in the United States, the media decided to run headlines that accused The Little Mermaid critics of being racist.
Disney decided to remake a movie that nobody asked to be reimagined, race-swapped the main character as a black woman, knowing that it was going to be a divisive decision, and ultimately marred everyone who objected to their decision as racist.
When the film bombed at the box office, they blamed ‘racists’ for their own failures. If Disney was any worse at taking accountability for their own decisions, they would be the vice president of the United States of America.
With a straight face Disney will tell you their plan was to promote inclusivity by making The Little Mermaid for everyone. The truth is that The Little Mermaid was always for everyone, which is why people from all over the world loved it in the first place.
Disney knew they wanted to stroke division when they cast a black woman to play Ariel. Promoting inclusivity was never their endgame. While The Little Mermaid may have failed at the box office, Disney still found success in their goal to further divide people — solely on the basis of skin color. In the eyes of a multi-billion dollar corporation, that’s all the success they needed.
If Disney wanted to make a film for everyone, they would have stayed true to the 1989 animated feature. The fact that they didn’t only reinforces that inclusivity was the last thing on their mind.