Disney Headlines for June 4th, 2023
This week, Ariel fought her most dangerous foe yet, “ratings terrorism.”
I’ll explain this genuinely strange turn of events in the latest Disney Headlines.
Audiences Love The Little Mermaid, But…
I’m uniquely qualified to discuss this particular story, as I ran one of the first movie websites to host polls and allow user reviews.
What my friends and I quickly discovered was that 95 percent of our readers were an absolute delight.
A handful of them, well, you’ve read the internet. You know the deal.
The social media era has revealed the best and worst of society’s character…and also some of our oddities.
People can do virtually anything they want online now. Rather than better themselves, some choose a different path.
I mention all this as the prologue to a story that sadly doesn’t even surprise me.
Deadline has offered their typical box office analysis for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. I’ve seen this movie. It’s good.
In fact, I liked it so much that I may watch it again in theaters, a practice I’ve stopped doing since the pandemic’s start.
I’m not the only critic who feels this way, either. In fact, MickeyBlog tracked early reviews, which suggested what I’ve said. The Little Mermaid is good.
As I type this, the current holds a Rotten Tomatoes Critic score of 68 percent.
Out of 252 critics who have reviewed the film, 172 have enjoyed the movie, while 80 haven’t. And that’s fine.
Art is subjective. You’d be shocked by some of the beloved movies that didn’t do much for me.
Conversely, I’ll die on the hill that a few poorly reviewed films got a terrible rap. It happens.
The Little Mermaid Evaluated with Other Disney Live-Action Films
Still, we can quantifiably state that The Little Mermaid is good via its Cinemascore.
That’s an opening night audience survey that scores every wide release.
The Little Mermaid earned an A. While Cinemascore’s grading system is pretty wonky, an A does indicate a film that audiences adore.
Disney has earned this grade for some other live-action remakes, most notably Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
Still, we can dive a little deeper to place The Little Mermaid’s quality into perspective.
Let’s use Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Cinderella as examples, starting with the oldest film.
Cinderella somewhat kickstarted the notion of the live-action reboot, at least for this generation of Disney films.
Audiences weren’t as cynical about the notion at the time, partially because Disney hadn’t oversaturated the process yet.
Cinderella earned a Rotten Tomatoes Critics (RTC) score of 83 percent and a Rotten Tomatoes Audience (RTA) score of 78 percent.
With Beauty and the Beast, the RTC fell to 71 percent, while the RTA held in the same range at 80 percent.
The Lion King remake proved the most divisive of the three, and I’ll admit it’s easily my least favorite of the four.
Other critics agreed as The Lion King is the only film that isn’t Fresh among critics. It has an RTC of just 52 percent, but its RTA is quite solid at 88 percent.
I suspect the Beyhive has something to do with that last number, which is an essential part of this story.
You can put your foot on the scale with audience grades if you perform an organized campaign. And that’s what has happened with The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid Might Be the Best of the Bunch
Let’s start by acknowledging that The Little Mermaid currently holds an exemplary RTA score of 95 percent.
Generally, films start stronger and then fall a bit over the years. Still, that’s a stunning number that reinforces what a great movie Disney has made.
Notably, there’s a bit of a divide with the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), though.
The Little Mermaid grades at 7.0 out of 10 there, which is fine, but it’s not what we should expect for something that’s 95 percent on the RTA.
The number is actually higher than either the Cinderella or The Lion King remakes but lower than Cinderella. As with the RTA, the score should drop over time, too.
Here’s the weird part. IMDb officials have acknowledged that they’re not using their standard metrics for The Little Mermaid, though.
Ariel Beats Trolls in America, Struggles in Europe
IMDb detected that some super-strange people were trying to lower the score and shut those weirdos out.
However, other countries haven’t developed such security measures yet because why would they? Hollywood films don’t matter as much there.
Well, the frustrated folks who cannot deceitfully tank the film’s scores here are trying overseas and with some success.
A South Korean news service has described the process as “ratings terrorism.”
These odd folks with far too much time on their hands have forced IMDb to post the following warning:
“Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title.
“To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied.”
In Germany, the aggressive downvoting met little resistance at first, causing The Little Mermaid to hold a score of 0.7 out of 10.
Some lovely Germans fought back and raised the film’s score to 5 out of 10, but you get the point.
Some people really, REALLY hate the idea that The Little Mermaid remake is quite lovely, and Halle Bailey is stealing hearts as Ariel.
We even had some of it here, as a person tried to tell us that the film had a Rotten Tomatoes score of 40 percent, apparently thinking we couldn’t check that on our own.
Folks, you won’t hurt yourself or anybody else by loving The Little Mermaid just as much as you did the original.
Also, if you know anyone trying to sabotage the internet grades of Disney movies, please tell them that they need a new hobby.
Maybe get them to start playing Pickleball? Railing against a Disney Princess simply isn’t a good use of anybody’s time.
Disney’s Cannes Problem
I’m running long this week, but I have another Disney movie topic to discuss briefly.
MickeyBlog covered the yin and yang of Elemental this week. On the one hand, the director received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.
Conversely, the early reviews for the film are a bit tepid. Those two articles may seem like they’re in stark opposition, but they’re both true.
First, Cannes is notoriously prone to standing ovations. A Transformers or Fast & Furious movie could probably get one there.
Second, Elemental’s first seven reviews from Cannes came in as four positive and three negative.
That’s a 57 percent RT score, which narrowly misses a Fresh rating. The cutoff number is 59/60 percent.
So, if one critic had turned their marginal thumbs down into a marginal thumbs up, the current grade would be 71 percent and a MUCH different Headline.
Since then, two more critics have watched the film, with one thumb up and one thumb down.
Overall, five people like Elemental enough to recommend, while four don’t.
I’d hardly call that a consensus yet, but the story will take on a life of its own anyway. That’s the consideration Disney should face right now.
Its decision to show Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Little Mermaid, and Elemental at Cannes didn’t pay off.
Cannes film critics aren’t the target audience for Disney movies, and they’re not gonna provide a soft landing just to be kind.
Disney executives must face the harsh truth that they’re allowing fewer than ten critics to sink entire $80 million marketing campaigns. That’s just bad math.
Stop showing Cannes critics your films, Disney. You’re only hurting yourself.
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Feature Photo: Disney