With a $118 million debut, 'The Little Mermaid' dominates the Memorial Day box office.

A live-action adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" dominated the Memorial Day weekend box office 35 years after the animated story of Ariel,

a flame-haired siren of the sea who falls in love with a prince, enchanted moviegoers. 

The Disney film is expected to gross $118 million in its first four days, with $96 million coming in the first three days. It is the eighth highest Memorial Day opening ever.

Many of the same moviegoers who first fell in love with Ariel when she flitted across the big screen in 1988,

as well as generations of fans who weren't alive when the original opened, but who were weaned on the film from its various appearances on DVD,

television, and, in more recent years, streaming, gave the film a boost. "It's a classic," remarked Disney's chief of distribution, Tony Chambers.

"If you ask a lot of women or men my age, 'Little Mermaid' and 'Beauty and the Beast' are their favorite animated films."

It's a story that transports them back to their childhoods, and this film provides an excellent opportunity for many individuals to pass that love on to the next generation."