Disney’s action and adventure film, “Mulan” is set to skip the big cinema screen and to be released straight to streaming service Disney+ from September 4.
The unprecedented decision — described by CEO Bob Chapek as a “one-off” for a Disney blockbuster — is the latest major blow for movie theater chains already reeling from the pandemic.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters, while also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of a Disney+ subscription,” Chapek told an earnings call. The film will launch simultaneously in theaters in territories such as China which do not have currently announced Disney+ launch plans.
On why they added the extra price to view the film, Capek explained: “As you know it’s fairly expensive to produce for consumers the quality we’re known for. “Rather than simply rolling (the movie) into a free offering, we thought we can test anything when you have your own platform.
“We’re trying to establish a new premiere access window to capture that investment we got (in the film). “We’ll have a chance to learn from this. From our research under a premiere access offering, not only does it get us revenue from our original transaction of PVOD, but it’s a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney+.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, “Mulan” was removed from the release schedule completely after so many setbacks. It was initially set to be released on March 27, but the health crisis meant the movie’s cinematic release had to be pushed back.
Disney said in a statement at the time: “As you know this has been a rapidly evolving situation and we wanted to make you aware that we are postponing the releases of ‘Mulan’, ‘The New Mutants’ and ‘Antlers’ out of an abundance of caution.
“We truly believe in the moviegoing experience, and we are looking at new potential 2020 release dates to be announced at a later date.” In March, the UK premiere of the movie had been scaled back, although a screening went ahead with stars such as Liu Yifei and Jet Li present.
On social media, director Niki Caro said: “Our hearts are with everyone the world over who is affected by the virus, and we hope that Mulan’s fighting spirit will continue to inspire those who are working so hard to keep us all safe.”
Main Image; NBC News