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“Mulan” Premiere on Disney+ a Possible Game-Changer for Hollywood

September 4, 2020, 11.02 PM

LOS ANGELES, – Disney’s “Mulan” premiere on the Disney+ streaming platform is poised to change Hollywood forever, according to analysts.

The $200 million film, featuring an all-Asian cast, faced multiple release date delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It had originally been due to hit movie theaters in March before Disney eventually moved its release to the Disney+ platform.

Read also: Netflix Steps Up Its Game as Disney+ Hotstar Readies for SE Asian Market

Last month, still uncertain over when or if movie-going families would feel safe to return, Disney rocked the industry — and its own cast — by announcing "Mulan" would skip theaters and premiere in living rooms instead.

"The decision for it to go on Disney+ was a big shock I think for a lot of us," said actor Jason Scott Lee, who plays the movie's main villain, adding that the film was "meant to be seen" on the big screen.

"At first it was devastating," Tzi Ma, who plays Mulan's father, told AFP.

"But after a day or so, I thought about the silver lining... with Covid-19, our responsibilities grow. We want to keep everybody safe."

Alongside health concerns is an experiment in on-demand viewing that could dramatically alter the way audiences watch movies.

Read also: Cinemas to Reopen for Business in Indonesia on July 29

The release of "Mulan" comes on the same weekend that Warner Bros. sci-fi blockbuster "Tenet" hits US theaters — or at least, the roughly 70 percent that have reopened, at reduced capacity.

Unlike its rival studio, which will have to split box office receipts with theaters, Disney will keep 100 percent of profits for "Mulan", which will cost viewers $30, on top of existing subscriptions.

While Disney has produced plenty of straight-to-video movies, it has never tried this approach with anything close to the budget of "Mulan" — and Tinseltown will be watching nervously.

"What happens this weekend may be remembered forever, may be a tipping point for all of Hollywood as we go into the future," said Jeff Bock, senior analyst for industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

"This is about how audiences are going to digest blockbuster entertainment in the future," he added.

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