I'm sure Disney had already been considering it for a while but perhaps they're more serious about a live-action The Little Mermaid now that they've seen how interested the public is in their Beauty and the Beast.
Seriously, though. In just 24 hours, the first teaser trailer for Disney's Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) topped Star Wars: Force Awakens for views. Now, they're both Disney products so it's not really a competition but it does say something about what audiences are clamoring for and Disney is ready to capitalize.
Execs at Disney are in the early stages of reviving Hans Christian Anderson”s The Little Mermaid as a live-action feature. Disney production chiefs recently heard a new take and are currently evaluating whether to proceed with the idea. Deadline understands that initial discussions have also taken place with major producers, including some with a strong connection to the studio.
But just as there were two Jungle Book films being created almost in tandem by different studios (Disney's did fantastically for them. We'll have to wait until 2018 to see how the Warner Bros/Andy Serkis one does.), so may be the case for The Little Mermaid.
Sofia Coppola was attached to a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid back in 2014 then dropped out the next year over creative differences. It had a rewritten script by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas) but Disney was not involved. From Universal instead, it was going to take its cues directly from Hans Christian Andersen (read: probably be horrifically scary) and star Chloë Moretz. She told Entertainment Tonight last year they're making a “modern revisionist tale” they hope will be “progressive for young women.”
Disney is sure to make something more in line with their 1989 animated film and continue their run of live-action films in pre-production which currently include Mulan, Pinocchio, Cruella with Emma Stone, Dumbo from Tim Burton, and Tinker Bell with Reese Witherspoon.