Mulan is coming to Disney+ on September 4, and when it does it’ll bring along what could be a major change for the future of these streaming services. Unlike every other thing on every other streaming service (not counting new stuff that you have to rent on Amazon), Mulan will carry a $30 price tag. But what does that mean? How will it work? Is this an expensive rental like when Birds Of Prey landed on VOD services early a few months ago? Do you get to keep Mulan once you pay for it?
Well, as it turns out, Mulan’s Disney+ launch is actually going to be a little complicated—or at least more complicated than going to a theater or buying a DVD. For starters, you need to be a Disney+ subscriber in order to access the movie at all, and it will be housed in a separate “Premier Access” section. Also, that $30 fee is to keep the movie, so it’s not an expensive rental, but you only get to “keep” it as long as your Disney+ subscription remains active. If you sign up for Disney+, buy Mulan, and then cancel Disney+, you will not be able to watch the movie. Essentially, you can think of Mulan as its own higher tier of a Disney+ subscription where you pay a one-time fee and the only benefit is that you get to watch Mulan. You’re not buying or renting Mulan, you’re unlocking a new feature in another thing that you already pay for.
It’s an interesting strategy that could only have come out of this stupid coronavirus year, because people wouldn’t stand for this if they could actually go to theaters (which, in case you haven’t heard, is something you should not do), so it’ll be very interesting to see how this works out. If it’s a flop, then we’ll probably see Mulan streaming for free sooner rather than later, but if it’s a wild success, well, Disney did just post its first quarterly loss in almost 20 years and could probably use some cash. We don’t know for a fact that Disney will continue to greedily charge exorbitant amounts of money so people can see new movies at home on the streaming service they already pay a monthly fee to use, but… yeah, Disney’s definitely going to do that if people are into this. And if Disney does it, other streaming services will also want to do it. Then we’ll have invented pay-per-view.