Disney cancels 'Little Mermaid 3-D,' dates 'Pirates 5' for 2015

Following weak box office performances for re-releases of "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo" and "Beauty and the Beast" in 3-D, Walt Disney Studios has canceled plans for   a 3-D "The Little Mermaid" in June.

The underwater animated hit from 1989 was the fourth and final 3-D re-release for which Disney announced plans in late 2011 after "The Lion King" proved a surprise hit in the format, grossing nearly $100 million in the U.S. and Canada.

But "The Lion King" turned out to be an anomaly, as the three follow-ups grossed far less. "Beauty and the Beast" took in $47.6 million last January, "Finding Nemo" $40.7 million in September, and "Monsters, Inc." only $30.5 million since its Dec. 19 release.

Though 3-D conversions cost only a few million dollars each, those weak box office performances are not enough for Disney to justify the marketing expense of a nationwide release.

Disney had already begun work on the 3-D conversion of "The Little Mermaid" in November, the studio's animation chief creative officer, John Lasseter, said in an interview at the time.

Disney also announced release plans for several other movies Monday.

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-- Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

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