EPIC Fail! Disney Just Got Some More Really Bad News
Hollywood flick "The Little Mermaid" is in the process of flopping in Chinese theaters, despite Disney's attempts to appease the Communist country by creating materially different marketing.
The anticipated live-action adaptation of the animated classic stars singer Halle Bailey in the leading role of Ariel, but Disney altered the Chinese poster to obscure the character's race.
Human Events' Jack Posobiec tweeted that "Disney's poster for the Little Mermaid in China speaks for itself," with images of the US versus Chinese poster. The black actress's skin tone on the US version was switched to blue for the Chinese alternative.
This isn't the first time Disney has been accused of altering posters and character's race in Chinese marketing, most notably with their slowdown of John Boyega's role in the Chinese "The Force Awakens" poster.
According to Variety, in the Chinese marketing of the "Star Wars" film, the studio went as far as to entirely cut out additional non-white characters.
Star Wars' Finn (who happens to be black) and Chewbacca (happens to be Wookiee) get shafted in China. HT @asmuniz pic.twitter.com/ATpvcd51L6
— ray 鄺羡華 (@raykwong) December 1, 2015
However, Chinese state media have denied such allegations, claiming such changes aren't reflective of racism in the country.
Regardless, the film seems to be Disney's dry spell in China, despite returns of $13,000 in pre-sales.
This differs starkly to "Cruella" and "Mulan," both earning 1.6 million and $23 million upon opening respectively.
Renegades took to review site Rotten Tomatoes to express their disappointment, with The New York Post calling the film a "lifeless cash grab."
The Little Mermaid is one of few Hollywood features to garner a China release during the Covid-19 pandemic, and many are saying it will go down as one of Disney's worst-performing films due to its censorship in the country.
It's an interesting comparison between the two posters; one exemplifies the racism we often see in society, whilst the other takes it away from the shadows in order to taint the passion of Disney fans in the country.
Whichever the reasons, it’s certain that Disney's new The Little Mermaid isn't a hit in China, and with the film set to release worldwide at the end of this year, it's worth keeping an eye out on the storyline and reception both domestically and internationally.