‘The Little Mermaid’ Swims to $105 Million-Plus 3-Day Opening on Memorial Day Weekend

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Latest Disney remake on course for $135 million-plus 4-day opening

Sebastian Little Mermaid 2023
Halle Bailey in "The Little Mermaid" (Credit: Disney)

Disney has another hit remake on its hands, as Rob Marshall’s “The Little Mermaid” has opened to $38 million from 4,320 theaters on Friday and is now estimated to earn a Memorial Day weekend opening of $106 million three-day and $135 million four-day in North America.

It’s still early in the weekend, so those figures may change. But right now, “The Little Mermaid” is on course to become the third highest Memorial Day weekend opening in box office history behind only last year’s “Top Gun: Maverick” ($160 million) and 2007 Disney film “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($139 million).

For all of their online hate and the general distaste from critics, the Disney remakes have been well received by general audiences. “The Little Mermaid” is no different with an A on CinemaScore to go with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 67% critics and 95% audience. Distribution sources tell TheWrap that the film is performing extremely well with families, setting up an interesting competition for that audience subset next weekend when Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is released.

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Fast X” has taken a steep drop in its second weekend, so much so that early charts have it barely holding on to the No. 2 spot against Marvel Studios’ long-lasting “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Currently, “Fast X” is estimated for a second weekend total of $22 million — a 66% drop from its $67 million opening — while “Guardians Vol. 3” is heading for $20 million in its fourth weekend as it crosses $300 million in domestic grosses.

Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is in fourth with $6 million in its eighth weekend. With a running domestic total of $560 million, “Mario” is now second only to the $608 million total of “Incredibles 2” on the all-time animation charts.

Completing the top five is Screen Gems/Legendary’s “The Machine” with a three-day opening of $5.6 million from 2,409 theaters, meeting box office projections for this film produced by Legendary and released by Sony. The action comedy has received negative reviews with a 29% Rotten Tomatoes score but is doing somewhat better among mostly male audiences with a B+ on CinemaScore and a 92% RT audience score.