We are now 36 years into the pandemic and the movie studios are beginning to run out of options for their major releases. Disney+ just came to a decision about the long-awaited Mulan live-action remake. Per Variety, Mulan will skip the glitzy theatrical release and head to the one Mouse property that hasn’t seen a sharp decline in revenue over the past 5 months: Disney+. (It will still get head to theaters overseas. You know, to the countries that actually handled the coronavirus outbreak well.) CEO Bob Chapek announced the development during the company earnings call today. But it’s not getting the same treatment as fellow high-profile projects Hamilton and Beyoncé’s Black Is King, where anyone with a subscription can tune in. If you want to watch Mulan save China, you’ll have to pay $29.99 in what is being touted as a one-time premium event and not a new service.
This is clearly an effort to recoup some of the major losses that the conglomerate has incurred since theme park and movie theater closures began in March. Disney+, however, has seen an uptick in paid subscriptions over the quarantine and can now boast of over 60.5 million consumers. And with no tangible reopen date for movie theaters in sight (remember when those were supposed to open back up in July?), this can seem like the next natural step. But the move to charge an additional premium and forgo the major theater debut is still curious when the theatrical releases of Black Widow and (good god) New Mutants are still being ostensibly protected. It’s especially disappointing to see a film with an all-Asian cast not get the big screen treatment like other major-scale films of the same caliber.
However, if you’re eager to finally see the new Mulan after numerous delays, the film will premiere on Disney+ September 4.