Just weeks after Disney reportedly scored millions of premium rentals with Mulan on Disney+, the studio will make the movie available to the rest of the video-on-demand world next week. While a $30 rental would keep the movie on Disney+ as long as you had an account, a lot of fans balked at the price tag -- especially when it was compounding on top of a streaming service they were already paying for. It appears as though, rather than a premium rental, Mulan will now be availabe as a standard purchase. This makes sense; anybody who already passed on paying $30 to see it on opening weekend would likely struggle to justify $30 any other weekend when we already know it will head to Disney+ as part of the standard streaming plan in early December.
Mulan will be available to stream on VOD through Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNow, and other platforms beginning on Tuesday, October 6. Customers can pre-order the movie for $29.99 starting today, and services like Fandango and its subsidiary Vudu are offering a $3 rebate to anyone who preorders the film.
The movie has struggled in theaters at home and abroad, both because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because of lukewarm word-of-mouth. Still, an independent analyst estimated that around 1/3 of all Disney+ users in the U.S. saw the movie on its opening weekend.
Estimates suggest that there are around 30 million U.S. Disney+ subscribers, so if the reported 29% of users really did pay to watch Mulan, that translates to a $260+ million opening frame. If a movie were to gross that at the box office, it would place #2 on the all time domestic openings list (just a hair ahead of Avengers: Infinity War) -- and again, that would mean sharing the revenue with theaters.
Disney has not yet revealed their official numbers -- and likely won't, unless they happen to come out during a shareholder call. Streaming services are notoriously secretive about the exact views and revenue generated by online media.
The movie, an adaptation of the classic Chinese poem by way of the 1998 Disney animated movie, centers on a young woman who secretly takes the place of her aging father when he is drafted into military service, making it necessary to hide her identity and her gender to everyone around her in order to save her family and embrace her destiny.
North American critics have given the film solid, but not extraordinary, reviews, with a lot of the criticism falling on a weak script that was elevated by solid direction and performances.