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Ariel is heading to China.
Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid has locked down a release date in China on May 26, day-and-date with the film’s North American launch.
Directed by Rob Marshall, The Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as the villainous Ursula. Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and Jonah Hauer-King co-star in the film, which retells the 1989 animated classic’s tale of a mermaid who longs to join the human world. Oscar-winner Alan Menken returns to update his score and pen a new song featuring lyrics from Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Disney’s live-action remakes have tended to perform well in China, but they’ve been on a gradual downward trajectory in recent years. The Jungle Book earned $150 million in 2016, followed by Beauty and the Beast with $85.7 million in 2017, The Lion King (2019) with $120 million, Aladdin (2019) with $53 million, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) at $48.8 million, Mulan (2020) with $40 million and Cruella (2021) with $24 million.
Upcoming Disney animated remakes include Snow White, starring Rachel Zegler and due out in March of 2024. Others in the works include Lilo & Stitch, as well as a Lion King prequel, Mufasa: The Lion King, from director Barry Jenkins.
Bailey, known as half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, was cast as The Little Mermaid‘s star in July 2019, with the film marking her biggest role to date after work including a part on Grown-ish. She will also be seen in the upcoming The Color Purple musical. In the U.S., the first full trailer promoting The Little Mermaid generated more than 108 million global views in its first 24 hours, making it one of the most watched trailers for any title in Disney’s stable of live-action reimaginings.
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