By the time Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid arrives, it’ll be the first one of the studio’s re-imaginings to play exclusively in theaters for almost four years. That’s crazy when you think about it, considering 2019 brought four of them and saw Aladdin, The Lion King, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Dumbo combine to earn over $3.5 billion at the box office.
Lady and the Tramp released on Disney Plus in November 2019, Mulan was locked behind the Premier Access paywall last summer, while Cruella was awarded a hybrid release this past May. Next year is expected to bring David Lowery’s Peter Pan & Wendy and Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio with Tom Hanks as Gepetto, but they were both confirmed as streaming exclusives a long time ago.
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Disney favorite Rob Marshall, who helmed Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Mary Poppins Returns, is directing The Little Mermaid from a script by Jane Goldman and Dave Magee. Shooting wrapped in early July, with the movie now confirmed for a May 26th, 2023 release.
That’s a decent amount of time to wait for a project that’s already in post-production, but you’d have to imagine Disney are playing it as safe as possible when it comes to delaying the next batch of big budget releases, because we’ll be well into 2022 at the earliest before the theatrical industry finally manages to shake off the effects of the pandemic and return to normal.