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September 4, 2020, 11.02 PM

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.

This is huge

Easing the decision for Disney was the fact that in China — where Disney+ is not available — many theaters have reopened. The movie launches on big screens there next week.

Based on a 1,500-year-old Chinese ballad about a young girl who takes her ailing father's place in the imperial army, "Mulan" was already expected to be one of Disney's biggest films ever in that marketplace.

"Mulan" is groundbreaking in other ways, too.

The entire cast is Asian or Asian-American — a demographic serially underrepresented in Hollywood, particularly among mega-budget blockbusters.


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