In a very surprising turn of events, Disney announced that it would be releasing Mulan on Disney+ for $30 on September 4, 2020. This comes five months after the film was supposed to hit in theaters back in March, but its release was delayed numerous times due to the ongoing pandemic and theaters closing its doors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mulan “will be made available to Disney+ customers in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and many Western European countries.”
While some may see this as a strategic move to get a piece of the VOD pie, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, speaking to investors, said that the studio remains committed to the theatrical experience. Still, given these current times, Mulan would serve as an exception to that rule. “We’re very pleased to be able to bring Mulan to our consumer base that has been waiting for it for a long, long time. Mulan is a one-off,” 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 and see what happens not only in terms of the uptick of the number of subscribers we got on the platform, but also the number of transactions we get on that PVOD offering.”
Unlike some of the other films released by majors studios, Mulan will be available exclusively to those who subscribe to Disney+. On top of all of that, you will need to pay the premium price of $30 to see it. So far, Disney has not added any additional costs to see films like Onward or Artemis Fowl on its streaming platform. This is an exception to that rule.
But this move does come at a time when studios are hurting for money. During the same investors call, Chapek revealed that the studio suffered $4.7 billion in losses during the pandemic. So releasing Mulan on VOD tells us that they are merely adapting to the times where people cannot go out to see a movie in a theater and that the studio is financially hurting. And the VOD release could be suitable for the studio since Disney+ added 57 million more subscribers.
Mulan was originally scheduled to hit theaters on March 27. This was long before the pandemic was widespread as it is now. And I can say that it is something that deserves to be on screen. So while I am disappointed, I commend Disney for allowing us to see it from the safety of our homes.