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The Little Mermaid (Little Mermaid site)

The Little Mermaid is the twenty-eighth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. Based upon the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Little Mermaid", the film was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and first released on November 15, 1989 by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. [1] Grossing over $111 million in the U.S. and an additional $99 million worldwide, the film is given credit for breathing life back into the animated feature film genre after a string of critical and commercial failures and later, some low successes (The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company). In addition, The Little Mermaid signaled the start of a decade-long period of successful Disney movies, The Rescuers Down Under (1990) being the only exception.

An upcoming stage adaptation of the film is planned with additional songs by Alan Menken and new lyricist Glenn Slater and is expected to open on Broadway in 2007 or 2008.

Trivia

  1. As revealed on the DVD, Howard Ashman re-wrote three scenes.
  2. The film was originally planned as one of Disney's earliest films. Production started soon after Snow White, but was put on hold due to several circumstances probably from World War II.
  3.  
  4. The idea for the movie was one of Walt Disney's favorites. In the 1980s, the Disney company did not know that Walt had intended to make a Little Mermaid film. The Disney Company thought of the idea independently. While in production in the 1980s, someone found Walt's Mermaid script by chance. Many of his changes to Hans Christian Anderson's original story were coincidentally the same as the changes made by Disney writers in the 1980s. (source: DVD making of)
  5.  
  6. Glen Keane, the supervising animator for Ariel, jokingly stated on the Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD that Ariel looks exactly like his wife "without the fins." The character's body shape and personality were based upon that of Alyssa Milano, then starring on TV's Who's the Boss? and the effect of her hair underwater was based on footage of Sally Ride, when she was in space.
  7.  
  8. The world of The Little Mermaid, Atlantica, appears in all three games of the Kingdom Hearts series, where Ariel teams up with Sora (the main character of the series), Donald Duck and Goofy to fight Ursula thrice. In order to blend in with the atmosphere of Atlantica and survive underwater, Sora becomes a merman (With a dolphin tail instead of a fish's), Donald's legs become tentacles like an octopus's and Goofy becomes a sea turtle.
  9.  
  10. In Kingdom Hearts II, Atlantica features a series of games that feature new songs such as "Swim This Way," "Ursula's Revenge," and "A New Day is Dawning." It also uses songs from the movie such as "Part Of Your World" and "Under the Sea" with vocals by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. It more closely follows the plot of the movie than the first game.
  11.  
  12. In Ursula's spell to turn Ariel human, she uses types of caviar in her incantation. (E.g., Beluga, Sevruga...)
  13.  
  14. When Scuttle is providing "vocal romantic stimulation" while Eric and Ariel are out at the lagoon, he is actually squawking his own version of Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet".
  15.  
  16. A number of backgrounds used during the Kiss the Girl song scene were recycled from Disney's earlier film, The Rescuers.
  17.  
  18. The dress Carlotta the servant wears is a larger version of the one used by Cinderella in Cinderella.
  19.  
  20. The Little Mermaid ranks as #51 of the 100 Greatest Cartoons.
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  22. Near the start of the film when King Triton is seen riding a dolphin-pulled chariot over a audience of mermaids and mermen, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy can be seen in the audience standing together. Also a figure that looks like Kermit the Frog can be seen.
  23.  
  24. Divine, the drag performer known for his role in Hairspray, was in part the inspiration for the design of Ursula the Sea Witch.
  25.  
  26. The song Part of Your World was almost cut after an early test screening. However, after a second test screening (this one with some finished animation), the audience's reaction to the scene convinced the studio heads to keep the scene in the film.
  27.  
  28. In the contract Ursula has Ariel sign, there is a crude drawing of Mickey Mouse's head amongst a jumble of letters.
  29.  
  30. During Scuttle's disruption of the wedding between Eric and Vanessa, The Grand Duke and King from "Cinderella" can be seen standing together in the background.
  31.  
  32. This version of The Little Mermaid is a mixed retelling of Doctor Faustus and Faust and the original tale, with Ariel representing Faust and Ursula representing the Devil.
  33.  
  34. In the scene after Ursula is destroyed, Ariel's pose as she looks longingly at Eric bears no little resemblance to the famous statue of Anderson's little Mermaid in Copenhagen (sculpted by Edward Eriksen)
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  36. When Grim first meets Vanessa, her hair is brown. But when Vanessa is in her room getting ready, her hair is black. Then at the wedding scene her hair is brown yet again.
  37.  
  38. Ursula has six tentacles instead of eight. Pat Carroll, who provided the voice for Ursula, joked that this made her less expensive to draw.
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