Although Mulan may be getting sent to Disney+ in several markets around the world, including the United States, it's still going to be hitting theaters in China. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a major disruption to the film industry, with several studios delaying their films to 2021 or sending them online for a digital release. Disney opted for the latter for Mulan, easily the biggest film to be released digitally since this whole thing began, offering it for $30 through Disney+ beginning in September. Fortunately for the studio, it will still be getting the film in front of one of the world's largest markets.
Disney confirmed on Tuesday that Mulan would indeed be released theatrically in China, which makes sense for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, China is one of the major markets where Disney+ still isn't available, making that release platform impossible. Mulan is also a Chinese story with many Chinese stars, so it always seemed destined to be a hit in the Middle Kingdom.
The frustrating news for Chinese fans is that a theatrical release date for the film has not yet been set. The countries with Disney+ will be able to begin watching Mulan on September 4th, but there's no word as to when countries going theatrical will actually see the film released.
As far as the VOD release of Mulan is concerned, it's going to be a mix of a usual on-demand purchase and the streaming service option of Disney+. Instead of going through a third-party like Apple, Amazon, or Vudu, Mulan will only be available through Disney+, but it won't be streaming for free as part of the usual subscription. Users will have to pay additionally to watch the movie. Fortunately, that payment will be a one-time thing and won't constitute as a rental. As long as you have a Disney+ subscription, Mulan will remain on your lineup.
Disney will be taking a big box office hit by releasing Mulan digitally in many markets, but there is a clear path for the studio to at least make its money back. China is a massive theatrical market, especially for Mulan, and bypassing other on-demand outlets in favor of a rental on Disney+ keeps all of the money in house.
Are you looking forward to seeing Mulan next month? Let us know in the comments!