‘The Little Mermaid’ Star Melissa McCarthy Brings Down the House as ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ Debuts at CinemaCon

Pour one out for the poor unfortunate souls who aren’t at CinemaCon. Attendees of the annual exhibition trade show were treated to the first-ever glimpse of Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in Disney’s upcoming “The Little Mermaid” remake, including a show-stopping rendition of the character’s signature number, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

McCarthy didn’t perform live, but she came to Las Vegas to introduce a clip of the movie, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel. In the dazzling footage, McCarthy channels Tallulah Bankhead with pitch-perfect flair as the evil sea witch convinces Ariel to part with her voice. Sporting dramatic makeup and a short, purple-ish updo, Ursula whips around her tentacles and shimmies through the sea alongside her sidekicks Flotsam and Jetsam while belting the evil anthem. And yes, McCarthy, who is known more for her comedic chops than her singing talents, effortlessly hits all of the song’s high notes.

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A live-action remake of Disney’s 1989 animated classic, “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of King Triton’s youngest daughter, who is fascinated with the world above. So Ariel makes a deal with her evil aunt Ursula to transform into a human in exchange for her dulcet pipes. She has three days to make a prince named Eric fall in love with her or she’ll turn back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula forever.

While on stage, McCarthy told the audience it was an honor to play one of Disney’s “most delicious and iconic” villains. “She’s dishy. She’s a conniving broad,” she says of Ursula. “You can’t help but love her at the same time.”

Along with Bailey and McCarthy, the voice cast includes Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. Rob Marshall directed the film, which releases in theaters on May 26.

Disney has given numerous animated films the live-action treatment — including “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Mulan” and “Dumbo” — to varying degrees of box office success. During the studio’s CinemaCon presentation on Wednesday morning, crowds at Caesars Palace were treated to new footage from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Pixar’s upcoming “Elemental” and Harrison Ford’s return in “Indiana Jones 5.”

“As we’ve seen with recent box office results, great stories never go out of fashion,” Disney’s distribution chief Tony Chambers told the room of theater owners, to loud applause. “And there is indeed no replacing the experience of a good story in a movie theater.”

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