scorecard'The Little Mermaid' defied backlash and review-bombing by opening at No. 1
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'The Little Mermaid' defied backlash and review-bombing by opening at No. 1

Grace Mayer   

'The Little Mermaid' defied backlash and review-bombing by opening at No. 1
Tech2 min read
Halle Bailey's casting as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" was met with racist backlash from some internet commenters. The movie has since opened at No. 1 in the US.    Disney
  • "The Little Mermaid" debuted this weekend and was "review-bombed" on some movie-review sites.
  • Despite this, it became the fifth highest-grossing release on Memorial Day weekend in history, per IMDb.

Since Disney announced its live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid," the film has been targeted with online hate, namely racist complaints about Halle Bailey being cast as the mermaid Ariel.

But that didn't stop it from taking the top spot at the weekend box office upon its release in the US.

The movie, which arrived in theaters on May 26, has received mixed reviews from critics. But it appears many of the online audience reviews have been artificially impacted by "review-bombing" — or when people swarm online movie review sites with negative ratings in an attempt to hinder the success of a film.

Of the 34,000 ratings the film received on IMDb, over 14,000 were 1-star reviews. The flood of these reviews caused IMDb to note on its review page, which allows registered users to rate movie titles on a scale of 1 to 10, that the film had attracted "unusual voting activity."

The disclaimer on IMDb's website reads: "Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternative weighting calculation has been applied."

Currently, the film sits at a 7-star rating on IMDb. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given it a 68% score, while the audience score, composed of over 5,000 ratings, sits at 95%. The movie received an "A" rating from CinemaScore, a firm that polls moviegoers on a film's opening night.

Despite backlash and review-bombing, the film had a notable opening weekend for box office earnings: The film was the fifth highest-grossing release on Memorial Day weekend in history, per IMDb. It reeled in $117.5 million in US box-office earnings through the Memorial Day weekend. The same time last year, "Top Gun: Maverick" debuted and drew in $160.5 million in US box office sales, the highest grossing release over the holiday weekend of all time.

'The Little Mermaid" ticket sales did beat out Disney's 2019 live-action remake of "Aladdin," which grossed $116.8 million when it opened on Memorial Day.

Box offices sales are still down by nearly 25% compared to pre-pandemic sales, per Axios. But if the "Aladdin" world-wide box office earnings of over $1 billion is any indicator, "The Little Mermaid" could be expected to deliver around that number in global ticket sales.




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