Disney‘s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” has stirred up controversy in Korea due to the choice of promotional material featuring NewJeans‘ Danielle, the voice actress for Ariel in the Korean dubbed version, instead of Halle Bailey, the lead actress.
As the film’s target audience comprises primarily children, concerns have been raised that the promotional campaign could lead to confusion among young viewers, who might mistake Danielle for the “real” Ariel.
Upon the announcement of NewJeans Danielle as the voice actress for Ariel, Disney Korea embarked on an extensive promotional campaign, featuring Danielle prominently on posters, billboards, and major television channels such as SBS.
This decision sparked a wave of criticism from Korean audiences, who were expecting to see Halle Bailey, the lead actress, in the promotional material.
Korean netizens took to various online platforms to voice their discontent with the promotional strategy.
Here are some of the comments that captured the prevailing sentiment:
“Why are they showing the face of the voice actress instead of the main actress? Is this an animated film instead of a live-action?”
“The trailer is no different. There isn’t a single direct shot of Halle Bailey.”
“This way, children will mistake Danielle for the lead actress and go to the theaters expecting to see her.”
“They hyped up the ‘black little mermaid’ but didn’t show her face in the trailer. What’s up with that?”
Despite the controversy surrounding the promotional campaign, “The Little Mermaid” live-action film premiered in Korea on May 24th as scheduled.
It remains to be seen how the public reception will unfold and whether the concerns raised by netizens will impact the film’s success in the Korean market.
What are your thoughts?