Race-Swapped ‘The Little Mermaid’ Nielsen Numbers Far Lower Than ‘Encanto’ And ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Nielsen released their latest weekly numbers and it includes the first look at the race-swapped The Little Mermaid’s streaming performance on Disney+.
According to Nielsen, The Little Mermaid racked up 1.3 billion minutes viewed, which was good for fourth spot on Nielsen’s Overall chart for the week of September 4 through 10.
The film was best by Suits, Virgin River, and One Piece. It did beat out Bluey, which has been the dominant program on Disney+.
However, when you look at other previous releases from The Walt Disney Company it pales in comparison to their viewership.
X user NowItsKnown notes that the film attracted 895 million minutes less than Black Panther: Wakanda Forever when it arrived on Disney+ during the week of January 30 to February 5, 2023.
#TheLittleMermaid‘s #DisneyPlus debut lands #4 on Nielsen Overall chart.
When compared to #BlackPanther2‘s debut numbers, It raises questions and answers questions about the film’s actual appeal. #Disney@wdwpro1 @JonasJCampbell @KinelRyan @ValliantRenegad @BoundingComics @Kneon pic.twitter.com/iGjRCflVbP
— MAC (@NowItsKnown) October 5, 2023
The Little Mermaid also performed worse than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 when it first arrived on Disney+.
Spoiler TV, which tracks Nielsen’s numbers every week, notes that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 racked up 1.625 billion minutes when it first arrived on Disney+.
The film was completely slaughtered by Encanto. When Encanto first arrived on Christmas Eve 2021, Nielsen reported it only brought in 407 million minutes. However, it was Christmas week. By its second week on the chart, it had racked up 2.198 billion minutes.
The film quickly became a hit on Disney+ racking up over 1 billion minutes each week for the next 7 weeks. It would pull over half a billion minutes each week until the middle of April 2022.
These Nielsen numbers come just after a new report revealed that The Walt Disney Company’s production budget for the film was much greater than the initial estimate of $250 million reported by Variety.
Forbes’ Caroline Reid reported the film’s budget “swelled to nearly $300 million by the end of August last year, eight months before the movie opened.”
Reid’s report is based off of filings in the United Kingdom where she uncovered that the film’s production company was filed under The Walt Disney Company subsidiary Sand Castle Pictures.
Those filings also show that Disney did receive a rough £46.6 million tax rebate which converts to $56.8 million. That means the net budget would decline to $240.2 million.
However, that net estimate might actually be low given her calculations appear to not factor in any kind of currency exchange or inflation given the costs for The Little Mermaid’s production go back to 2019.
On top of that, it’s possible another report could also come in adding additional costs given the last report was from August 2022 and the film did not arrive in theaters until May 2023. Reid does note that this filing does not include other post-production costs, which can range in the tens of millions of dollars.
Financial analyst Valliant Renegade speculated that the total cost for The Little Mermaid is likely around $350 million.
He stated, “We can pretty much expect that that total spend on production is going to get somewhere around the $350 million range once these latter tax returns come in in the next several months to a year.”
From there he shared, “If you’re talking about a movie where Disney is going to spend outright $350 million on, and then spend another $125+ million to market that $350 million production, now you’re at $475 million possibly approaching half a billion dollars to both produce and market a film of this scale.”
Valliant Renegade continued, “Then we throw in the tax credit from the UK. Right now currently standing at $60 million. Let’s say that gets up to $65 million maybe $70 million by the next returns. That means the net cost to Disney is still going to be somewhere around $400 million or more, possibly up to $425 million. So, if you’ve got $280 coming back in, you can see the issue here.”
“We’re still looking at a loss for The Walt Disney Company for The Little Mermaid of somewhere in the neighborhood of about $125 to $150 million,” he declared.
What do you make of these Nielsen numbers for The Little Mermaid on Disney+?