Disney’s live-action adaptation of MULAN made a much-talked-about debut on the Disney+ streaming service as a premium exclusive. If you were a Disney+ subscriber you were already paying the monthly amount for the service but Mulan was made available to you for purchase for an additional $30. This decision was met with some criticism but reports suggest that the move worked for the film in terms of profit. That being said, the decision likely kept a decent amount of prospective viewers from seeing the film but those people are now in luck. Mulan is now available for Disney+ subscribers to watch for free.
Mulan was originally intended to make its big-screen debut back in March but the release was shifted to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The release was delayed yet again until August before the decision was ultimately made to premiere the film for a premium fee on Disney+ on September 4, 2020. The film officially became free to stream on the service on December 4, 2020, which pretty much mirrors the typical blockbuster window for a film that would have a normal theatrical release before hitting PVOD and streaming.
Mulan did see a theatrical release overseas that was met with mixed results. Disney pulled in about $66.8 million from its theatrical run which doesn’t come close to matching the film’s $200 million budget but according to a research firm, “Yahoo” reported that 29% of US households that subscribe to Disney+ purchased Mulan from the time it was released through its first nine days as a $30 Premier title on the streaming service. Since it’s estimated that 30 million of the 60+ million worldwide subscribers to Disney+ reside in the US, that means roughly 9 million people spent $30 on Mulan. When Yahoo did the math, that comes to a total of approximately $261 million.
Mulan’s availability for free on Disney+ comes at a very interesting week for the film industry. Warner Bros. first made news when it was decided that Wonder Woman 1984 would debut on their HBO Max streaming service for free and in theaters on the same day. Many theater owners applauded the decision but that celebration came to a halt when Warner Bros. went all-in on that news and decided to release all seventeen of their 2021 films in the same manner. It signals a new norma for the industry and Disney is dabbling in it as well. While they released Mulan initially for a premium fee on Disney+, they decided to stream their new Pixar film Soul for free to all Disney+ subscribers on Christmas Day.
Did YOU check out Mulan when it was available for a premium fee or did YOU wait until was able to stream for free on the Disney+ service?