In a gutsy move as COVID-19 rages on in the U.S., Disney has announced that its $200 million live-action adaptation of “Mulan” will be released on Disney Plus on September 4. Easy at-home streaming access will come with a price, even for those who are already signed up for Disney’s service. The on-demand title will cost $29.99 per rental. In countries that don’t have the option, “Mulan” will open in theaters. One bright spot: The fee allows for continuous access to the movie for those who remain subscribers.
The China-set epic directed by Niki Caro (“Whale Rider”) and is based on the studio’s 1998 animated film that was Oscar-nominated for its music score was originally supposed to open on March 27. The film that stars actress Liu Yifei in the title role got a glitzy premiere in early March but had to delay its opening several times as theater chains closed their doors. At least the buzz was positive.
While Warner Bros. remain hopeful that its mega-tentpole “Tenet” will open in theaters on September 2 with a staggered opening abroad and in the U.S., there is no guarantee that moviegoers will feel safe in such an environment. However, family movies like “Scoob” and “Trolls World Tour” have proven that parents are willing to shell out the bucks for VOD titles to keep their kids entertained during this high-stress time of sheltering in place.
Depending on how “Mulan” does with the at-home format, other highly anticipated titles from the House of Mouse such as “Black Widow” and “New Mutants” just might end up on Disney Plus as well.