When Disney’s movie ‘The Little Mermaid‘ came out into the movie theaters in mid-November of 1989, I bravely gathered up the courage to take my little brood to see their FIRST MOVIE at a real movie theater. This was a big deal with a 4-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old….all at the same time! The oldest 2 of these 3 were extremely hyperactive, and NOT on Ritalin (I was firmly against it since they didn’t hurt themselves or anybody else plus were able to their schoolwork just fine). I knew that a trip to the movie theater was going to be quite an adventure that I had been putting off and delaying. But this was an animated movie and I was really hoping that it was gonna be a good once because it was Disney! Besides, how could I NOT take my kiddies to a Disney cartoon? Hubby and I hadn’t taken them to see ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit‘ the year before, and we were glad that we didn’t because it was a bit risque and I don’t think that they’d have understood the content. But as it turned out, ‘The Little Mermaid’ was the PERFECT movie to be the FIRST MOVIE for them to see at a movie theater….so much so that we saw it several times!
The 5 of us sat in the back row of our favorite theater in Ft. Walton Beach. We were almost the first to arrive and after we chose our seats, nobody else wanted to sit near us! We must’ve seemed undaunting, a family with a bunch of noisy and wide-eyed young-uns, so folks basically rolled their eyes and kept walking down the aisles to get far away! That was okay with us. What they DIDN’T know were the discussions that we’d had privately, at home, prior to coming to the movies: discussions about manners and respecting other folks and theater etiquette, etc.. All these folks didn’t know also that my children have always been extremely well-behaved. They may be noisy while awaiting the start of the movie because they’re as excited as possible, but as soon as the cartoon actually began they quieted down and enjoyed the delightful movie, clapping and laughing and cheering just as everyone else did! Our movie-going experience was such a hit that we did it again the very next weekend. We were also the last folks out of the theater (it takes a long time to gather all of our belongings plus it’s just easier to keep 3 little kids together once the crowds have ceased) By the way, several older adults stopped and commented about my children’s wonderful behavior!
That movie opened to an $84 million box office during it’s initial release and was considered a HUGE success for the Disney company. It then made $211 million worldwide. It was a big boon for Disney cartoon movies. It even began an era known as the Disney Renaissance. Since that time Disney has been cranking out many, many wonderful animated movies.
What a FIRST MOVIE that happened to be for my family too! It’s been a quarter-of-a-century ago and I am happily amazed at the influence that Disney movies has had on my 3 children. Both of my boys have worked in movie theaters, the youngest still does. All of my children have been Castmembers at Walt Disney World in Florida, the oldest 2 still are and have been for 10 years now! Could it all have started with ‘The Little Mermaid‘? Maybe! I still consider it to be the most BEAUTIFUL movie that Disney has ever made!