Disney made the decision last month to remove it's live-action adaptation of Mulan from its theatrical release slate entirely, opting instead to release it as a premium on-demand purchase through its Disney+ streaming service. Mulan will go theatrical in some markets around the world, such as China, but in North America, the UK, and several other markets, the film will only be available online. In addition to the $6.99 monthly Disney+ subscription you'll need to have in order to even purchase Mulan, you'll need to pay whopping $30 to get access to the film. This is the highest VOD price tag we've seen since the onset of the pandemic, and it has many people asking if it's even worth the cost. Is $30 a fair price to watch a movie at home?
That's a tough question, because there are a lot of ways to look at it. On a surface level, $30 is quite a lot of money, especially when you're not even seeing it in a theater. Paying that on top of a Disney+ subscription may be more than people want to pay, especially in the middle of a global pandemic.
Then again, it depends on how many people are there in your household. It would take $40-50 to take a family of four to a movie theater on a weekend, and that's not including concessions and the gas it takes to get there.
Let's also remember that the $30 price for Mulan doesn't just net you a rental. If you pay once for Mulan, you'll have it permanently added to your Disney+ account, so you can watch it as many times as you want. That's ultimately the big thing working in Disney's favor here.
When Universal released Trolls World Tour on VOD services earlier this year, it cost about $20 for a 48-hour rental. That's $10 less than Mulan and it could only be watched for one weekend. Remember, Universal touted $95 million in revenue from those expensive rentals over the first three weeks Trolls World Tour was available, so people were willing to pay to watch a movie at home.
Sure, Mulan is a little bit more expensive than Trolls was, but wouldn't you rather pay more for something you can watch again and again? It usually costs between $20 and $25 to purchase a digital copy of a new movie, most of which previously played in theaters. What's another few dollars for something brand new?
Ultimately, if you're in a household of just one or two people and don't really have a fondness for Disney fare, paying up for Mulan probably isn't the right call. It'll be on the regular Disney+ roster eventually. However, if you've been looking forward to the release of this live-action adaptation, or you've got a family that's been waiting to see something new, $30 really isn't all that bad of a deal.
Mulan will be available to purchase through Disney+ beginning on September 4th.