After months of delays, Disney finally announced that it will forego a cinematic premiere of its highly-anticipated live-action remake Mulan. Instead, the company will release it on Disney+ and charge people $29.99 to view it.
Disney announced this news on Tuesday, and since then, fans and theater owners alike have had a chance to absorb the update and react.
But their reaction does not look promising.
Polls were conducted over Twitter by both Variety and Comicbook.com asking fans if they were willing to rent Mulan for $30.
Variety acquired just under 94,000 votes and 85.3% of them said “No.”
Will you rent #Mulan on Disney Plus for $29.99?
— Variety (@Variety) August 4, 2020
Comicbook.com’s own poll reached 4,700 people, and 84.6% of those people also said no.
— ComicBook.com (@ComicBook) August 4, 2020
This will be the first time Disney premiered a movie on its new streaming platform that included an extra cost to its subscribers. There was no such “premier access” charge when the studio released Artemis Fowl on the site or any of its Disney+ originals like The One and Only Ivan.
CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Chapek explained that Mulan is being treated as a “one-off” extra-cost release. But at the same time, they are viewing this as a test and will be watching the results carefully.
Also note that the $29.99 charge is giving Disney+ subscribers early access to Mulan, meaning it is not a rental and the film will stay on their Disney+ accounts moving forward once they purchase it on September 4. Later on in the future, the film will release on Disney+ for all subscribers, though that release date has not yet been revealed.
“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 as we’ve had to, unfortunately, move our theatrical date several times,” Chapek said during the most recent Disney investors call. “We are looking at Mulan as one-off as opposed to saying there is some new business windowing model that we are looking at.”
“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,” he continued.
The $30 PVOD rental costs is set to average what families would be paying to see the film in theaters. Viewing this as “Cutting out the middle man” as it were, movie theater owners are not happy.
But again, Disney sees this release as a learning opportunity. If the actual revenue from Disney+’s PVOD attempt reflects these poll numbers, it is probable that Disney will listen to its fans, move away from PVOD, and resume traditional theatrical releases.
Mulan is scheduled to be released on Disney+ in early September.