Taglines: Somewhere under the sea and beyond your imagination is an adventure in fantasy.
In Disney’s beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince. Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter.
The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human. Written, directed, and produced by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (who also served as a co-producer), the film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.
The 28th Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid was released to theaters on November 17, 1989 to largely positive reviews, garnering $84 million at the domestic box office during its initial release, and $211 million in total lifetime gross worldwide. After the success of the 1988 Disney / Amblin film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid is given credit for breathing life back into the art of Disney animated feature films after a string of critical or commercial failures produced by Disney that dated back to the early 1970s. It also marked the start of the era known as the Disney Renaissance.
Early in the production of The Little Mermaid, Jeffrey Katzenberg cautioned Clements, Musker, and their staff, reminding them that since Mermaid was a “girl’s film”, it would make less money at the box office than Oliver & Company, which had been Disney’s biggest animated box office success in a decade. However, by the time the film was closer to completion, Katzenberg was convinced Mermaid would be a hit and the first animated feature to earn more than $100 million and become a “blockbuster” film.
During its original 1989 theatrical release, Mermaid earned $84,355,863 at the North American box office, falling just short of Katzenberg’s expectations but earning 64% more than Oliver. The film was theatrically reissued on November 14, 1997, on the same day as Anastasia, a Don Bluth animated feature for Fox Animation Studios. The reissue brought $27,187,616 in additional gross. The film also drew $99.8 million in box office earnings outside the United States and Canada between both releases, resulting in a total international box office figure of $211 million.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Starring: René Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Paddi Edwards, Buddy Hackett, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Edie McClurg
Screenplay by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Film Editing by: Mark A. Hester
Art Direction by: Michael Peraza Jr. Donald Towns
Music by: Alan Menken
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: November 17, 1989