Disney is releasing their heavily promoted, live-action, The Little Mermaid, in select theaters today, with a wide release coming tomorrow. Box office predictions put the film at $100-$125 million domestically for the opening 4-day weekend, but how much did the film actually cost Disney to make?
The answer is a staggering $200-250 million dollars, and that does not include the massive amount of marketing and promotion Disney has spent on this film. We know just the Oscars promotion cost $10 million. Of course, Disney owns ABC, so it’s paying itself, but that shows us how much the company was willing to pay to secure one promotional spot. This film has been marketed heavier than even the Marvel films.
How much does Disney need to make for the film to be successful?
Not counting the costs for marketing, which are likely in the millions, Disney would need to make at least $500 million on this film for it to be considered a “success.” Some outlets have indicated it would need closer to $750 million, given the marketing budget!
It’s clear Disney is trying very hard for the $1 billion mark, since they’ve been failing to hit that number lately, even with Marvel tent pole films.
The media is already spinning the opening predictions as a “win” when the reality is, if they stay where expected and don’t go higher, it puts the film in the middle for live-action, theatrical releases. Films like ‘Mulan’ and ‘Cruella’ are hard to quantify as they were released with Premier access on Disney+ due to the pandemic.
As of now, The Little Mermaid film is sitting at a critical score of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience scores are starting to come in, but it’s much too early to say how those will fare. Since those scores are easily manipulated up or down, the box office numbers over the next couple of weeks will likely be a better indicator of the film’s success.
It’s too early to tell how well this film will perform but it likely needs to perform close to $600k – $750k for Disney to recoup the money they spent on it and have it labeled a “success.” That number is totally possible if audiences love it!
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