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"Little Serena" reaches $117.5 million

"Little Serena" reaches $117.5 million

Family audiences came out in force, propelling Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to the top of the box office over the Memorial Day weekend. The film, a live-action remake of the 1988 animated favorite, earned $117.5 million over the four-day holiday. It ranks as the fifth-biggest Memorial Day debut, with last year's "Top Gun: Maverick" setting a new record for the holiday with its $160.5 million launch. At one point over the weekend, it looked like The Little Mermaid might open north of $120 million, but ticket sales fell slightly.

For Disney, the film's popularity is a testament to its strategy of digging deep into its vaults and rebooting animated titles as live-action films, something it has done successfully with films like Aladdin, "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King" Waiting on the horizon: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the Oscar-winning director of "Summer of Soul," is preparing a remake of "The Aristocats" for Disney.

"Little Serena" reaches $117.5 million

If it wants to turn a profit, "The Little Mermaid," which has a production budget of $250 million, will need to continue to draw crowds in the coming weeks. This may be more challenging internationally as the animated original is not as beloved in many countries as it is in the US. So far, the film has earned $68.1 million from more than 51 markets, including such major territories as France, Great Britain. , Mexico, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

Analysts believe the film was helped by its PG rating and multi-generational appeal, with people who saw the original as children taking their children to the film some three and a half decades later.

"It's a perfect family movie. Ariel's character resonates just as strongly today, if not stronger, than when the original animated film opened."

Two other summer publications used the holidays to pad their profits. Universal's "Fast X" earned $28.7 million over the long weekend. The sequel to the long-running automotive franchise has struggled at the domestic box office, earning $113.6 million after two weeks. It performed better overseas, earning nearly $400 million to bring it north of $500 million, making it the third highest-grossing film of 2023. The franchise has crossed the $7 billion mark at the global box office to become the fifth highest-grossing film series of all time.

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