Mena Massoud: The Little Mermaid comment explained - why has Aladdin actor deleted his Twitter account?

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The Aladdin star deleted his Twitter account after getting backlash for a tweet about Disney film The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid, a live action remake of the 1989 classic, will land in cinemas in the US and UK on Friday 26 May. The film stars Halle Bailey in the title role, with Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric.

Ahead of the film’s release it has been predicted to make a splash at the box office and could be on track to break the billion dollar mark - a feat so far achieved by 52 movies.

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But fellow Disney actor Mena Massoud found himself in hot water when he seemed to suggest that the film would not live up to expectations and would fail to match the success of his own movie, Aladdin.  

Massoud played the beloved street rat alongside Will Smith as the Genie and Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. Since speaking out against The Little Mermaid, the actor has deleted his Twitter account, likely due to the backlash he provoked.

Mena Massoud deleted his Twitter account after backlash over The Little Mermaid commentsMena Massoud deleted his Twitter account after backlash over The Little Mermaid comments
Mena Massoud deleted his Twitter account after backlash over The Little Mermaid comments | Getty, Disney

What did Mena Massoud say about The Little Mermaid?

Massoud replied to a tweet from entertainment news account The Hollywood Handle, comparing the projected domestic gross of upcoming Disney live action film The Little Mermaid to the 2019 film Aladdin, which Massoud starred in.

The Hollywood Handle reported that The Little Mermaid was estimated to make $115 million in the US on its opening weekend, adding that Aladdin made $112 million.

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Massoud responded to the post, tweeting: “Our film was unique in that audiences went to watch it multiple times. It's the only way we reached the billion dollar mark with our opening. My guess is TLM doesn't cross the billion mark but will undoubtedly get a sequel." 

Aladdin grossed $1.05 billion globally following its release off a $183 million budget, making the film a big financial success. However, it was still only the ninth highest-grossing movie of the year, due to a number of big budget Marvel, Star Wars, and other Disney movies. 

A sequel to Aladdin was previously reported to be in the works with a release date set for May 2025. However, recent updates on the fate of a sequel are less certain. Last December the project was stalled as the latest script was scrapped, and in March 2023 Massoud claimed that a sequel was now ‘very unlikely’.

The Little Mermaid is projected to make $115 million in its opening weekendThe Little Mermaid is projected to make $115 million in its opening weekend
The Little Mermaid is projected to make $115 million in its opening weekend | Disney

Why has Mena Massoud deleted his Twitter account?

Massoud faced a big backlash for his comment casting doubt on the success of The Little Mermaid, a film which has already faced plenty of criticism from years ahead of its release over Disney’s decision to cast a Black actress in the lead role.

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The Aladdin star has failed to capitalise on his success in the film, his biggest roles since have been in the poorly received Amazon Freevee Christmas film Home for the Holidays, and the similarly panned Netflix romcom The Royal Treatment. 

Twitter users were quick to pile on the actor in defence of The Little Mermaid, with one tweeting ‘Your film reached a billion but you’re still jobless… seems like you got other things to worry about.’

Several others pointed out that Black Panther had been similarly downplayed ahead of its release, before it went on to make $1.3 billion worldwide, becoming the second highest grossing film of the year.

Whilst others took the opportunity to bash Aladdin, with one calling it ‘one of the least liked and trash live action disney movies’.

Massoud deleted his Twitter account on 13 May, and his page, and the tweets in question are inaccessible on the site.

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