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  • Writer's pictureChen Xinyu

Controversial Release of “The Little Mermaid” in Malaysia among Audiences

Writer: Chen Xinyu

Editor: Li Zhengxuan

(TGV cinema poster of the Little Mermaid. Photo by Chen Xinyu)

Kuala Lumpur, 25 May - The highly anticipated release of the beloved Disney classic, “The Little Mermaid” on May 25 at TGV AU2 cinema, AEON AU2 Shopping Centre, drew significant attention from the public, the movie's casting decision, to feature a black actress in the lead role, triggered a wave of controversy among audiences.

TGV AU2 cinema witnessed an overwhelming crowd on the day of the release, with movie enthusiasts eagerly waiting for the screening to begin. Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the casting choice, fans of the original animation and those excited to experience the live-action adaptation expressed their enthusiasm for the film.

A group of parents, accompanied by their children, shared differing views on the casting controversy. While some parents expressed admiration for the inclusivity and diversity presented in the film, others expressed concerns over the deviations from the original story and questioned the choice to alter the appearance of the iconic character.

"It's important for our children to see representation on screen, and I think this casting decision is a step forward," stated Sarah Lee, a parent at the cinema. Conversely, some parents, like John Lim, believed that the changes in the lead character's appearance were unnecessary and seemed forced. It detracted from the essence of the story.

The movie's box office performance demonstrated a considerable turnout, indicating that despite the mixed opinions, public interest remained high. The film garnered a significant number of ticket sales, indicating a strong opening weekend. This suggests that the controversy surrounding the casting choice did not significantly deter audiences from watching the film.

Young people also weighed in on the debate surrounding the movie's release. While some praised the diverse casting and appreciated the fresh perspective brought by the lead actress, others expressed disappointment with the alterations made to the original story.

Aiman Luqman, a college student, remarked, "I think it's great that they cast a black actress. It's about time we see more representation in movies. However, I wish they had stuck closer to the original story. It feels like they changed too much."

Moreover, as public discussions surrounding the movie continue, it is evident that "The Little Mermaid" has become a focal point for conversations about representation and creative interpretation in the film industry. The contrasting opinions voiced by parents, young people, and the box office performance demonstrate the complex and nuanced reactions of Malaysian audiences to this adaptation. Ultimately, as more individuals watch the movie, a better understanding of the film's impact on viewers can be obtained.

The Little Mermaid's marketing tactics in Malaysia were successful this time. As the Malaysian audience continues to engage in these discussions, it remains to be seen whether this adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" will successfully bridge the gap between tradition and progress, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on the cultural landscape of the nation.

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