The Little Mermaid has been the subject of an alleged online review bombing, and IMDb is taking action. The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall, is a live-action version of Disney’s 1989 animated picture of the same name. The remake received mixed but generally good reviews from reviewers and did moderately well at the box office.
According to Deadline, The Little Mermaid is currently undergoing what looks to be a review bombing, notably in France, Germany, Korea, and other nations. In reaction to the strange distribution of reviews, IMDb issued a warning, stating, “Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title.” An alternate weighting algorithm has been used to maintain the trustworthiness of our rating system.” This technique is further explained by IMDb as follows:
Why Is The Little Mermaid Being Review Bombed?
It’s worth noting that, as of this writing, The Little Mermaid has a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 95%. When combined with the film’s higher performance at the domestic box office, it appears that American viewers are largely loving the picture. It’s unknown why some overseas markets are rejecting the picture, but it might be because Halle Bailey, a Black woman, was cast in the starring role of Ariel.
There was a strong internet protest over Bailey’s Little Mermaid casting even before the film was released. It was noted that her casting is too different from the original animated film’s pale-skinned, red-haired Ariel. If Bailey’s skin colour and Disney’s perceived “political correctness” are to blame for the latest round of review bombing, it’s odd that the backlash is mostly centred in overseas markets and not in the United States.
Historically, review bombing has been an efficient strategy to lower a film’s overall rating on IMDb and other sites, eventually making user evaluations of films less valuable as criteria for determining quality. Despite a flood of one-star ratings, The Little Mermaid has a rating of 7/10 as of this writing. With review bombing becoming an increasingly widespread practice in today’s entertainment environment, it speaks well for the future of user review sites that IMDb is actively putting procedures in place to assure more accurate ratings.