Disney’s ‘diverse’ Little Mermaid a flop in China—possibly worst 2023 opening: report

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Disney’s new The Little Mermaid film, starring black actress Halle Bailey as the main character Ariel, has a Chinese poster that obscures the character’s race, as the film is on track to flop in the Communist-led country.

According to Comic Book Resources, “the film is likely to be Disney’s worst-performing Chinese release this year,” and has only earned $13,000 in pre-sales.

Disney has also created alternative marketing for the communist country by releasing a different poster than the one in the US. Elijah Schaffer on Twitter posted a side-by-side comparison and asked, “can you spot the difference.”

This is not the first time Disney has downplayed a character’s race in their marketing to China. Famously the black actor John Boyega, who played Finn in The Force Awakens, was reduced in prominence in the Chinese poster from the American poster.

According to Variety, in addition to minimizing Boyega, they cut out additional non-white characters entirely for the Chinese poster. 

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