Disney might have an issue on its hand's thanks to Mulan, but it has nothing to do with the movie itself. The upcoming live-action adaptation stars Crystal Liu, and Liu recently found herself amid controversy after a post to her 65 million followers on Weibo, where she said that "I support Hong Kong's police, you can beat me up now" along with the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice with a heart and an arm-flex emoji. The statement comes at a time where pro-democracy protestors are at odds with Hong Kong's law enforcement, and some are now calling for a boycott of Mulan and a demonstration at Disneyland in Hong Kong (via THR).
The movement put on a peaceful demonstration as they walked through the city in the rain on August 18th, and 1.7 million protestors took part. They are considering a sit-in at Hong Kong Disneyland, possibly even by August 24th, though there is some pushback to that idea due to location and the possibility of making escape difficult if mass arrests are carried out.
Disney hasn't commented regarding the situation yet, but it seems like only a matter of time before they'll have to, especially if tension continues to rise. China is important to Disney to the tune of $8.85 billion, which is what its earned in China from its last 10 major films. That's why Disney isn't hasty to go too far on one side or the other.
"Disney can't support the protesters because their business in China is too important," notes Stanley Rosen, a professor at USC who specializes in the Chinese entertainment industry. "But they obviously can't be seen as pandering too much to China either, because that could backfire as well, depending on how the situation in Hong Kong unfolds."
"If things polarize even further in Hong Kong and China resorts to even greater violence to assert its authority, it will become much harder for [Disney] not to get dragged into it," Rosen said. Rosen also said that more comments from Liu will likely only make the situation worse. "It's not unthinkable that the release date for Mulan could have to be moved beyond March 2020."
For now, we'll have to wait and see how this plays out, but let us know what you think of the situation in the comments.
As for Mulan, the movie is currently on track to release on March 27th, 2020.