Theater's Accidental Little Mermaid + Transformers Trailer Mashup Rules, Actually

·3-min read
An image shows The Little Mermaid and a robot gorilla next to each other.
An image shows The Little Mermaid and a robot gorilla next to each other.

The Little Mermaid live-action remake and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts—two of the biggest upcoming movies of 2023—don’t share much in common. However, an apparent film projector accident at a theater showing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 led to the trailers for the two films playing at the same time. The end result might just be the best movie of the year.

I’ll say right now that while I’m excited to see the new Guardians film, I’ve got little interest in the live-action Mermaid remake and even less desire to see another Transformers movie that isn’t Bumblebee 2. So I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled when I saw a tweet claiming that a theater had screwed up and played the trailers for both upcoming blockbusters at the same time. I almost didn’t even click to watch the video. I’m so happy I did because what was created by mashing up these two teasers is fantastic.

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In the video uploaded on Friday—which has already gone viral and been reshared all over Twitter—a theater in Tenesse appears to start playing trailers for both Transformers and The Little Mermaid at the same time, with audio of Ariel singing all that can be heard during the entire clip. The weirdest part about all of this is how well the two trailers sync up, which is probably a sign that movie trailers are following similar formulas and pacing guidelines and not some cosmic bit of content creation. But still, fun to watch!

Fans seem to like the Little Mermaid / Transformers mashup

At one point during the video, you can hear someone mention that “This looks like the best movie ever” and I’m inclined to agree. At the very least it would likely be more entertaining than Disney’s previous live-action misfires or most of the Transformers films. At the end of the video, you can even hear the audience start to applaud the odd concoction of Disney nostalgia and transforming animals.

The original poster of the video explained to Kotaku that this odd mashup happened during an evening showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at an AMC theater in Franklin, Tennessee.

According to Blake Perry, the staff at the theater didn’t say anything afterward and the rest of the trailers were shown without issue. “It was just such a strange coincidence and everyone in my auditorium loved it!!”

Of course, the question now is if any studio or company involved in this weird bit of accidental crossover marketing will latch on to the viral moment and try to take advantage of it. I can see the Transformers-branded social media accounts posting some fan art of Ariel and Optimus Prime chilling and singing together. In a world where Fortnite brings characters like Batman and Luke Skywalker together with Ariana Grande and Master Chief, it’s not that wild to think the brands might come together to squeeze all the fun and joy out of this odd bit of accidental viral marketing.

Or wait, is this just a Fortnite teaser? Damn it.

Update 5/5/2023 4:55 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include more information from the original poster of the viral video.

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