After a number of delays Disney has decided to make Mulan available for streaming on their Disney+ platform. That was announced during an earnings call on Tuesday. It will be available starting September 4.
The film will also be release theatrically in markets where Disney+ isn't available and in which theaters are open (so if you live in China that's relevant). Deadline adds that the concern with putting the movie out in some theaters but not others is related to piracy.
As has been experimented with by other studios during the pandemic, Disney is looking to find ways to get interested viewers' eyeballs on their films. Mulan will have "premiere access" starting on September 4, and that will be paired with a $29.99 price tag in the U.S. The movie will also be available on that date in "Canada, New Zealand, and number of countries," according to CEO Bob Chapek.
During a round of questioning, Chapek gave more details on the company's strategy. For now, this sounds like a one-time thing.
“We’re pleased to bring Mulan to a consumer base that’s been waiting for it as we’ve had to move our (release) dates several times…We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed trying to say that there’s a new business windowing model.” Chapek said.
Deadline adds that Disney be monitoring how many new subscribers the service gets, and that they'll also be looking at how many people are willing to part with $29.99 to watch it like this.
Speaking of that specific price, Chapek talked about that too.
“[A]s you know it’s fairly expensive to produce for consumers the quality we’re known for," he said. "Rather than simply rolling (the movie) into a free offering, we thought we can test anything when you have your own platform. We’re trying to establish a new premiere access window to capture that investment we got (in the film). We’ll have a chance to learn from this. From our research under a premiere access offering, not only does it get us revenue from our original transaction of PVOD, but it’s a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney+.”
Mulan was removed from the release calendar, temporarily, by Disney in late July. It was previously marked down for an August 21 release. Obviously that proved optimistic. Originally it had been set to come out on March 27.
This newest development comes as Disney detailed just how bad their third quarter went this year. As CNN wrote:
Disney released brutal quarterly results that showed the extent to which the company's media empire was ravaged by the pandemic. The company reported that it had a net loss of nearly $5 billion in the third quarter this year.
In addition to its whopping quarterly loss, Disney's parks business was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Its parks and resort unit lost $3.5 billion in the quarter and the unit's revenue was down a whopping 85% from the quarter a year prior.
Obviously none of this is good news for those in the American movie theater business either. So...hopefully Tenet's good.