The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human. Written, directed, and produced by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (who also served as a co-producer), the film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.
The 28th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, The Little Mermaid was released to theaters on November 17, 1989 to largely positive reviews, garnering $84 million at the domestic box office during its initial release, and $211 million in total lifetime gross worldwide. After the success of the 1988 Disney/Amblin film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid is given credit for breathing life back into the art of Disney animated feature films after a string of critical or commercial failures produced by Disney that dated back to the early 1970s. It also marked the start of the era known as the Disney Renaissance.
A stage adaptation of the film with a book by Doug Wright and additional songs by Alan Menken and new lyricist Glenn Slater opened in Denver in July 2007 and began performances on Broadway January 10, 2008.
Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is dissatisfied with underwater life and is curious about the human world. With her best friend Flounder, Ariel collects human artifacts and goes to the surface of the ocean to visit Scuttle the seagull, who offers very inaccurate knowledge of human culture. She ignores the warnings of her father King Triton, the ruler of Atlantica, and his adviser and court composer Sebastian that contact between merpeople and humans is forbidden.