How Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 Was ‘Really Helpful’ When It Came To Figuring Out How To Film The Little Mermaid

Gemma Ward in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid
(Image credit: Disney)

This Friday fans of The Little Mermaid will finally get to see one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Disney movies with the new live-action remake. However, if you just can’t wait, don’t forget that there is already another live-action Disney movie directed by Rob Marshall that features mermaids, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. While the film isn’t the most beloved in its own franchise, it turns out the movie did serve a purpose as a  launching point for The Little Mermaid

While the mermaids in On Stranger Tides are a small part of the larger film, producer John DeLuca told EW that the sequence, in which a group of Blackbeard’s pirates attempts to capture a mermaid, was something the film spent a great deal of time on. Director Rob Marshall says the mermaid scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie were shown to The Little Mermaid crew to act as a starting off point for the new film. He explained…

I wanted people to see what we had done. Obviously, it's a different kind of mermaid, but we were all trying to figure out how visually we create the tails, even the iridescent skin, all of that. That [Pirates scene] already had our taste in terms of look and what you can achieve. We were explaining how we achieved it, too — when we were using visual effects, when we were using some kind of costumes, and things like that. We just broke it down with our entire team. That was really actually helpful.

It’s been more than a decade since Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, so certainly a lot has changed in the world of visual effects since then, but if you’ve made a mermaid on screen before, and one that sings no less, it certainly makes sense to revisit that when you’re doing it again a few years later. Of course, these were much darker mermaids that the ones from the cartoon Disney movie.

The bar is certainly going to be raised when it comes to The Little Mermaid. Not only is a mermaid the star, and not just a supporting character, but The animated Little Mermaid is one of the most beloved in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Expectations are likely to be quite high, but so far early reviews of The Little Mermaid are solid. 

Of course, there is one other way that Disney likely hopes that the new mermaid movie takes inspiration from the earlier mermaid movie. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides grossed over $1 billion at the global box office and considering that several other Disney live-action remakes have done the same, there is likely a very strong hope that Ariel will do the same. Predictions are that The Little Mermaid will have quite a box office take, though how it will ultimately compare to Disney's other franchise behemoths we'll have to wait ad see. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.