Disney has finally announced “Mulan” will be premiering on Disney Plus on September 4 for a premium rental price instead of dropping in theaters.
The company believes that the release of the live-action epic will help drive new subscribers and avoid putting viewers at health risk by attending a theater. It will be a test to see how much money viewers are willing to fork up to watch a movie that was intended to debut only in cinemas.
Mulan won’t be available directly subscribers at the base $6.99 fee. Users in the U.S. and other territories will have to pull out their cards and pay an additional $29.99 to rent the movie. In markets, where Disney+ isn’t available, Mulan will play in theaters.
Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek said, “Mulan’s big move isn’t reflective of a new business model for the company – even thought it kind of is.”
“We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed to saying there’s some new business windowing model that we’re looking at.”Bob Chapek, Tuesday on the Company’s Earnings Call
Disney may not plan on turning its’ back on traditional theaters, but they’re interested in testing the digital waters for a reason. Disney has shelved many titles since the pandemic devastated theaters worldwide. Disney simply wants to learn from the Mulan release and see the total number of transactions. If those numbers are better than expected, the Mulan streaming test might end up not being a ‘one-off.’
Mulan will cost roughly $10 more than Universal charged for “Trolls World Tour” and it’s not offering any discounts for subscription holders. Mulan is noted as the priciest video-on-demand release since Universal charged subscribers $60 to view “Tower Heist” in 2011.
The final decision to put Mulan on premium VOD further emphasizes the studio’s increased reliance on Disney+ in a time where theme parks, cruises, and movie theaters aren’t operating as well now as they have in the past.
You might be wondering why the movie has a $37~ ticket value, and that would be because “the movie cost $200 million to produce and many millions more to market and promote on a global scale. That means it will rely on ticket sales if it hopes to turn a profit.
Users on Twitter aren’t too happy about the price tag or the delivery option either…
The lack of a theatrical release is another setback for exhibitors who had hoped to watch the fearless Chinese warrior on the big screen. With sweeping battle scenes and lavishly appointed sets and costumes, Disney shelled out millions to make Mulan a must-see in theaters. Viewers without high-definition televisions and good surround sound options might opt out of watching the new movie and wait to see if it will appear in theaters.
Horn and Bergman stated, “Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
“Mulan” was always meant to be a global theatrical player, especially in China. But even though Chinese theaters have started to reopen, box office sales have been sluggish without any new content to feature.