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Disney’s Little Mermaid Remake Finally Has A Release Date

Ariel on Little Mermaid poster

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Disney has been on a tear late with live-action remakes/re-imaginings of its classic animated movies, with Mulan and Cruella being the most recent offerings from that lineup. Among the ones we can look forward to in the coming years is The Little Mermaid, based on the same-named 1989 movie that launched the Disney Renaissance and will feature grown-ish actress Halle Bailey playing Ariel. Well, after years of following along with this project’s development, we finally know when it’s coming out. Be warned, though: you’re in for a long wait.

Two months after The Little Mermaid, wrapped filming, Disney has announced that the remake will be released in theaters on May 26, 2023. So it’ll follow three weeks after fellow Mouse House flick Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 3 hits the big screen, open the same weekend as a yet-to-be-titled “Universal event film” and one week ahead of New Line Cinema’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods. The Little Mermaid, had once been set to come out this year, but production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic eventually made this plan impossible to carry out.

So for those keeping track, The Little Mermaid will arrive a little under two years after cameras finished rolling. Why such a big gap? Well, no doubt a lot of time is being spent on visual effects during the postproduction period, from fully realizing the underwater kingdom of Atlantica and the surrounding areas, to creating the movie’s underwater denizens, like Sebastian and Flounder, not to mention Ursula’s tentacled lower half. As such, perhaps Disney simply felt it was better to hold The Little Mermaid for a Memorial Day weekend 2023 release rather than have it rushed for summer 2022.

While The Little Mermaid will be the next live-action Disney remake/re-imagining to play in theaters, those who enjoy these kinds of Mouse House projects won’t be left lacking next year. Peter Pan & Wendy, which stars Halle Bailey’s grown-ish costar Yara Shahidi, Jude Law and Jim Gaffigan, will be released exclusively on Disney+ sometime in 2022. Other upcoming movies in this particular Disney lineup include the Lion King prequel, Cruella 2, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Pinocchio and Hercules.

Like its animated predecessor, the live-action Little Mermaid will follow Halle Bailey’s Ariel desperately wanting to live on the surface with humans, and she eventually trades her voice to the sea witch Ursula, played by Melissa McCarthy, to accomplish this. The remake’s cast also includes Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hater-King as Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Rob Marshall, who has directed Disney movies like Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns, helmed The Little Mermaid, and Alan Menken, who scored and co-wrote songs for the original Little Mermaid, reprised his composing duties and worked on new songs with Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

While we wait for more updates on the live-action Little Mermaid, don’t forget you can stream the animated version on Disney+, so make sure you’re subscribed to the platform. Alternatively, you could look through our 2021 release schedule and 2022 release schedule to discover what movies are coming out sooner in the future.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.