“The Little Mermaid” Premieres At Midnight, And Early Reviews Are In

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Halle Bailey attends the World Premiere of Disney's live-action feature "The Little Mermaid" at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on May 08, 2023.
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

“The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey as Ariel is hitting theaters tonight. After months of heated debates regarding her casting, early reviews are largely praising the singer-actress. The adaptation will closely follow the beloved Disney animated film of the same name. The film is reportedly on track for a massively successful box office turnout.

After initial critiques about the animation styles of Flounder and Scuttle, the rest of the production pulled through to offer sharp underwater and above ground visuals.

For months, conservative media personalities and far-right commentators bashed the adaptation with racist language. Bailey is the first Black actress to fill Ariel’s tail, and the character was white in the original cartoon. The film’s production team has long defended its casting choice, recognizing that the characters’ ethnicity was ambiguous, and that representation matters. Director Rob Marshall reiterated that he did not think that casting Bailey should have been made into “a big deal” by critics.

Bailey recently spoke to the AP about the harassment she encountered online throughout filming and the ensuing press tour. She recalled leaning on her family and friends for support.


Marshall continued to discuss Bailey’s casting recently, recalling being moved by her 2019 Grammys performance.

Bailey’s take on the classic role is resonating across generations. While “The Little Mermaid” is often regarded as a children’s story made popular by princess Ariel, adults are loving the new adaptation. Some Gen Z viewers are sharing humorous memes about how excited they are to be transported back to their childhoods this summer between “The Little Mermaid” and “Barbie.”


“The Little Mermaid” will hit theaters near you tonight at midnight local time.


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