Mulan is officially skipping theaters in the U.S. in favor of a premium offering on Disney+. During a quarterly earnings call, Disney revealed that the upcoming live-action remake, which has been delayed several times this year already, will be made available next month in a unique offering exclusively on the Disney+ streaming service. It won't simply be made available to anyone with a subscription. Instead, the blockbuster will cost an additional $30. What's more, the movie will still be debuting in theaters in certain international markets.
During the earnings call, Disney revealed that Mulan will be offered on Disney+ and it will come with a premium price tag of $29.99. The movie, directed by Niki Caro, is said to come with a budget of $200 million. It was originally set to debut in theaters back in March. However, the theater closure prevented that from happening. It has since been delayed multiple times, with Disney recently delaying it indefinitely. CEO Bob Chapek had this to say about it.
"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 with this great content."
In countries where Disney+ isn't available, as well as in countries where theaters are open and operating safely, Mulan will still be given a theatrical rollout. Studios have faced challenges with big movies in recent months. Recently, Warner Bros. opted to release Christopher Nolan's Tenet internationally first, with a limited rollout in the U.S. While not ideal by any stretch, the situation at hand has forced the industry to adapt.
Certain planned theatrical releases, such as Trolls World Tour, have been offered on premium VOD in recent months as theaters have been shut down. These rentals have typically gone for $20. The fact that Disney will be charging $30 is unheard of. But the studio needs to make a certain amount of money to break even on the massive blockbuster. Simply offering it to subscribers for no additional charge wouldn't make financial sense. Disney previously moved Artemis Fowl, a planned theatrical release, to Disney+. But the movie was savaged by critics upon arrival. This is a different situation.
Mulan, as an animated feature, was originally released in 1999. The live-action remake star Yifei Liu in the title role. The cast also includes Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li and Jet Li.
It is entirely unclear how this will play out from a financial standpoint in the long run. It also remains unclear what effect this will have on the industry going forward. Theater chains are facing a rough road ahead. Without major blockbusters like Mulan to attract customers once they do open, the situation will become increasingly dire. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news was previously reported by CNBC.