“The Little Mermaid” grosses KShs.22.6B despite hate reviews and competition from “Fast X”.

Disney movie “The Little Mermaid is currently showing in cinemas across Nairobi. The movie, which is a live-action adaptation of the 1989 original animated film of the same name, this time starring black actress Halle Bailey as Ariel.

Rated PG by the Kenya Film and Classification Board, the film, much like the original follows Ariel, the youngest of King Triton’s daughters, as she longs to discover more about the world beyond the sea. While visiting the surface, Ariel falls for the dashing Prince Eric despite mermaids being forbidden to interact with humans. To counter the rule, Ariel makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life and her father’s crown in jeopardy.

The film, despite being a remake of a Disney classic, has been subject to ongoing backlash from racist quarters condemning Disney for casting a black actress in the role of “The Little Mermaid”. Deadline, however, reports that since its premiere the movie has grossed KShs. 22.6B ($164M) globally.

Unfortunately, overseas markets such as Korea have reported “ratings terrorism” while China Box Office site, Maoyan, predicts abysmal $4M overall earnings. All this stemming from reported “Backlash Against ‘Black Mermaid’”. 

In Kenya, however, media personality Pinky Ghelani hosted a mother-daughter event at the CineMax hall in which she spoke about the black mermaid backlash ahead of the film’s showing. Celebrities Wahu, Maureen Waititu, Kalekye Mumo and more were also in attendance.


Directed by Rob Marshall the film stars in addition to Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy. 

“The Little Mermaid” will continue its cinema run in Kenya all through the Madaraka Day holiday and weekend.

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