When Bob Iger took over Walt Disney again, one of his first moves was to reassure Wall Street that more sequels and remakes were coming. Disney has a lot in its vault, and remaking animated classics as live-action movies is widely seen as a safe strategy, with built-in audiences for familiar fare.
That strategy is coming into question, though, as weak international box office numbers for “The Little Mermaid” trickle in. The live-action remake of the 1989 film grossed $95 million in its Friday-Sunday North American debut, but just $68 million overseas. For comparison, star power fueled the 2019 “Aladdin” remake with Will Smith and 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson, both of which earned more than $1 billion, mostly overseas.