Mulan Skips Most Theaters for $30 Disney+ Debut, Mandalorian Still on Track

Mulan is coming home... for the cost of $30.
Mulan is coming home... for the cost of $30.
Photo: Disney

After several delays, Disney has finally settled on a release strategy for its mega-budget remake Mulan. The film will arrive on Disney+ September 4 but will cost subscribers an additional $29.99 to watch.

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That was one of the biggest pieces of news during the company’s latest earnings call, which also revealed the company lost $3.5 billion in its parks division due to coronavirus closures. Certainly, numbers like that explain why the company has decided on such an unconventional path for Mulan, the live-action remake directed by Niki Caro which was originally scheduled for release in March. Previously, Disney canceled the theatrical releases of Artemis Fowl, Hamilton, and The One and Only Ivan and moved them to its streaming service, but those were all included in the subscription fee. Not Mulan.

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Mulan, which will also be available on Disney+ in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and several Western European countries, is following in the footsteps of other recent theatrical releases that were canceled and went straight to premium on-demand, like Universal’s Trolls World Tour or Warner Bros. Scoob. The difference there, though, is that those titles were on multiple platforms. Disney’s news makes it sound like Mulan will only be available to Disney+ subscribers. (The company said the film would also open in whatever theaters happened to be open come September, all over the world.)

Can fans expect similar fates for other upcoming Disney movies like Black Widow? Time will tell. Disney CEO Bob Chapek called the decision a “one-off,” but suggested how Mulan performs financially will be a major factor in that type of decision.

“We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off, as opposed to trying to say there’s a new business windowing model we’re looking at,” he said. “That said, we find it very interesting to be able to take a new offering... to consumers at that $29.99 price and learn from it.”

On the call, Disney also confirmed that season two of The Mandalorian remains on track for an October debut but offered no updated on the should’ve-been-released-soon Disney+ Marvel series. “It’s such a priority that we are hopeful this will be coming shortly,” was all Chapek said about the shows.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

How much of this is because China looks to be on it’s way back to some level of “open” but Disney doesn’t want the blowback from releasing it there while withholding it in Western countries that are still behind the curve?

I mean, why else would they cave on this specific movie but not something like Black Widow?

Also, for the record, I get why they’re charging more than a movie ticket...but that seems tough. I’m picturing my household and I’m the only one who wants to watch Widow...so $30 for that would be a big ask since (for obvious reasons) I wouldn’t be inviting anyone over to watch it with me.