Disney's long-awaited live-action remake of Mulan is finally being released this September, but not exactly how the studio or fans envisioned.
Originally slated for theatrical release in March but delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mulan will instead be released on Disney+ on September 4, but there is a catch – you'll have to pay an additional $29.99 USD fee to watch it on the streaming service.
The news was announced by Disney CEO Bob Chapek in an earnings call on August 4 and a Disney representative later clarified that the fee will not act as a rental, but you'll have unlimited access to viewing Mulan as long as you have an active Disney+ subscription.
Canada was confirmed as one of the regions where the movie will premiere on Disney+, but Canadian pricing has not been finalized – for reference, $29.99 USD would equate to approximately $39.99 CAD after conversion. At first glance, the pricing does seem steep, but not completely outrageous for families, as $39.99 is about how much it costs for three general admission tickets at Cineplex.
While Mulan isn't the first movie to transition to a streaming release during the pandemic, it is the first big-budget title to change course to a digital release, as the film had an estimated budget of $200 million USD and was projected to rake in over $85 million USD during its opening weekend in March before movie theatres were shut down across North America.
Although Chapek called Mulan's release a "one-off" and not a permanent strategy shift, it will be an interesting experiment for Disney and other movie studios to gauge whether this release model is profitable, as many movie-goers are reluctant to visit theatres in the midst of a pandemic. If successful, there is a distant possibility that Disney could dabble with the idea of releasing more delayed films on Disney+ at an additional cost like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise.
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Source: Disney, with reports from Insider