Did you see ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Grove? Ariel might have been at your screening

Halle Bailey peers through an opening on a ship in a scene from "The Little Mermaid."
Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
(Giles Keyte / Disney)

Did you see “The Little Mermaid” at the Grove this weekend?

If so, Halle Bailey might have been part of your world.

The “Little Mermaid” star revealed Saturday via TikTok that she sneaked into a screening of the movie undercover on opening night. Bailey plays Princess Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake, which launched at $117.5 million domestically — the fifth-highest Memorial Day weekend debut of all time.

“can’t believe the little mermaid is the #1 movie in the world you guys!!” Bailey captioned a video of her walking around AMC the Grove 14 in Los Angeles. “went to the theatre to go see it last night.”

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In the clip, the singer and actor can be seen strolling incognito past the concessions stand and a digital “Little Mermaid” poster in a long, black trench coat, sunglasses and a face mask. At one point, she passes by a theatergoer taking a selfie with the poster, completely unaware that Ariel herself is standing right there.


With her official “Little Mermaid” popcorn bucket in hand, Bailey enters the screening just as her character is saving Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) from a shipwreck. In the comments section of her TikTok post, several fans lost their minds at the prospect of Bailey secretly attending their screening of the fantasy film.

“Imagine Halle just casually walking into your movie [theater],” one person commented along with three crying emojis.

“imagine sitting next to THE little mermaid while watching the little mermaid,” another person wrote.

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Bailey has been especially active on social media in the days leading up to and following the release of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the elaborate production.

“can’t believe it today is the day!! the little mermaid is out everywhere in theaters now,” she captioned a series of images of her in training and costume as Ariel.

“this was my first time ever doing a film like this, and words can’t describe how immensely grateful i am to have had this experience with such a beautiful group of people …please go watch and enjoy with your loved ones!!”


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The highly anticipated revival has been warmly received by audiences, who gave the movie an A grade on CinemaScore. Critical reception has been more mixed, though many reviews have praised Bailey’s performance.

“If Bailey is less expressive in her non-singing moments — a flaw built into the story itself, once Ariel is magically divested of her voice — she nonetheless makes an empathetic, eminently see-worthy heroine,” writes Times film critic Justin Chang.

“‘The Little Mermaid’ ... has its visually garish moments, most of them in an underwater kingdom that looks like especially thin soup next to the recent ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’ But down in the depths it does find stray passages of beauty — in the fabric-like plumage of the mermaids’ tails and especially in the pull-out-the-stops staging of ‘Under the Sea,’ still the movie’s most rousing number.”

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In a recent interview with The Times, Bailey shared that she “learned a lot” while playing the rebellious sea princess. She joins a growing list of actors who have portrayed the live-action versions of animated Disney heroines — including Jasmine (Naomi Scott), Cinderella (Lily James), Belle (Emma Watson), Aurora (Elle Fanning) and Mulan (Yifei Liu) — on the big screen.

“I think we all go through the things Ariel goes through: feeling uncertain but passionate about our future, knowing when we want something great for ourselves and what lengths we’ll go to get it,” Bailey told The Times.

“This whole process was a lot on me, physically and mentally. I never thought I would ever be able to accomplish something like this, and coming out of it, I’m a very different person. I know now what I want for myself and my future.”