Disney‘s live-action Mulan, based on the animated tale which itself was based on Chinese folklore, has had a rough journey to release. The movie was originally supposed to release in November 2018, but was shifted around the theatrical schedule slotting into March 27, until the pandemic hit. Late last month the film mysteriously disappeared from the schedule, and now it appears we know why.
Variety is reporting that Mulan will be skipping a theatrical release in the USA, and going straight to the streaming service Disney+ on September 4. However, unlike other films that were planned for theatrical release, then shifted to Disney+ (eg. Artemis Fowl, Hamilton), Mulan won’t be streaming for free for existing subscribers, but will be available for rent. Yes, on top of your monthly bill, the film will cost you an extra $29.99 to rent. Sheesh. How much will the eventual Blu-ray cost?!
Disney CEO Bob Chapek is claiming this is a unique case, and not an indication of a new model for distribution:
“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”
Yeah. If the Mulan is very successful, we’re pretty sure it will be a model if theaters are not opened up anytime soon. In areas that do not offer Disney+ and areas where theaters have re-opened, the film should show in theaters eventually.