“The Little Mermaid’s Global Debut Marred by Overseas Review-Bombing and Controversy”


Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” is making a splash at the domestic box office, grossing $95.5 million in its three-day opening and projected to reach $117.5 million over the four-day weekend. When combined with its international box office debut of $68.3 million, the film’s global opening is estimated to be around $163.8 million through Sunday. However, the film’s performance in overseas markets has been affected by review-bombing and negative user reviews, which some attribute to internet trolls.

While the movie has received a 95% verified audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, ratings websites in various countries, such as IMDB in the UK, Brazil, and Mexico, as well as AlloCiné in France, posted warnings during the film’s release due to an influx of negative user reviews. These advisories were issued to caution viewers and maintain the integrity of the rating system. Despite these measures, the exact methodology employed by these websites to calculate ratings remains undisclosed.

In France, AlloCiné noted an unusual distribution of scores and advised viewers to form their own opinions about the film. This move, although rare, was seen as necessary given the circumstances. Notably, respected outlets like Libération, Première, and Les Inrockuptibles gave the movie a low rating of one star.

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IMDB also detected abnormal voting activity on “The Little Mermaid” and adjusted its rating calculation accordingly. The website publishes weighted vote averages to ensure the reliability of its system. However, the specific method used for this calculation remains undisclosed. Similar warnings were displayed on IMDB sites in the US, Canada, UK, Brazil, and Mexico.

In Germany, Moviepilot initially displayed an extremely low rating of 0.7 out of 10 for “The Little Mermaid” before its release. However, the rating increased over the weekend, eventually reaching a 5 out of 10.

Critics and viewers have expressed a variety of complaints, including issues with the film’s lighting and skepticism surrounding the decision to remake a beloved classic. Unfortunately, in some cases, racially-tinged commentary has also emerged.

In Korea, the film faced what was referred to as “ratings terrorism” with negative reviews receiving significant attention. Korean entertainment website Zapzee translated an article from SBS News titled “Backlash Against ‘Black Mermaid’: Appearance Ridiculed, Ratings Drop on Day One.” The rating portal on Korea’s Naver saw a trend of negative reviews garnering hundreds of likes while positive reviews received hundreds of thumbs down. The initial score of 1.96 on the day of release eventually increased to 6.67.

Halle Bailey’s performance as the lead has received praise from many viewers. However, the film’s performance in China has been disastrous, with no audience score available on Maoyan. The box office figures in China have been disappointing, accumulating only RMB 17.7 million ($2.5 million) by Sunday, and Maoyan projects a total gross of approximately $4 million.

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The top five performing markets for “The Little Mermaid” at its opening were Mexico ($8.5 million), the UK ($6.3 million), Italy ($4.7 million), Brazil ($4 million), and Australia ($4 million).

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