Disney raised some eyebrows with its decision to premiere The Little Mermaid trailer during Sunday's Academy Awards. However, it's easy enough to understand why the studio used ABC - a network it owns - as a launching platform for the preview, especially when the Oscars generates such a large audience.
According to IndieWire, ABC offered all movie studios the opportunity to bring actors on stage and introduce an upcoming project, though only Disney and Warner Bros. agreed.
These sponsored integrations are a tad divisive, and after Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy hit the stage to help launch The Little Mermaid trailer, the Oscars cut to a lengthy break that reportedly saw those in attendance left staring at a blank screen. Yes, while everyone home got to see it, the people in the building were left with nothing to do!
Puck adds that Disney is likely to have paid itself roughly between $7 million - $10 million to air the trailer during the ceremony, with the studio essentially forking out for five 30-second slots.
That's a big chunk of change and likely a hefty amount of the live-action adaptation's marketing budget. Believe it or not, despite ABC being owned by Disney, money changed hands, and there was no discount offered. They got what they paid for, though, as the Oscars drew a solid 18.7 million viewers this year, a 12% rise from 2022.
In The Little Mermaid, the youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart.
She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.
The movie stars singer and actress Halle Bailey as Ariel, Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as the voice of Flounder, Awkwafina as the voice of Scuttle, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Art Malik as Sir Grimsby, Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina, with Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.
Helmed by visionary filmmaker Rob Marshall, The Little Mermaid opens exclusively in theaters on May 26, 2023.