For anyone who wanted to watch Mulan but didn’t want to sign up for Disney Plus, the movie is heading to Amazon, FandangoNow, Vudu, and other digital retailers on October 6th. The film is currently available to preorder for $29.99.
Mulan debuted on Disney Plus on September 4th as a “Premier Access” title. Disney Plus subscribers could spend an additional $30 to own the film. In order to keep the film, however, they had to keep up their Disney Plus subscription, which costs $6.99 a month. Now, Disney is making the movie available (for purchase) to anyone, anywhere. Mulan is available to preorder in SD, HD, or 4K UHD.
Disney’s decision to move Mulan, which was originally intended for a theatrical release, to Disney Plus came at a pivotal moment for the company. Like other studios, Disney’s theatrical slate was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain movies were delayed to 2021, including Marvel’s Black Widow, Mulan became an experiment for Disney — would people pay $30 for a new, anticipated film? More importantly, would it keep people subscribed to Disney Plus, one of the company’s only growing sectors right now?
“We’re very pleased to be able to bring Mulan to our consumer base that has been waiting for it for a long, long time as we’ve had to unfortunately move our theatrical date several times,” CEO Bob Chapek said on an earnings call.
Disney hasn’t released numbers for Mulan, making it difficult to gauge just how well or how poorly the film performed on Disney Plus. Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, said the company has been “very pleased with what we saw over the four-day weekend” at a recent conference, as reported by Bloomberg, but actual figures will have to wait until Disney’s next earnings call.
What remains clear is Disney, like other studios, is trying to figure out how to work with the unprecedented uncertainty in the filmmaking and distribution markets caused by the pandemic. Warner Bros.’ Tenet saw some decent revenue internationally but failed to perform well within the US due to limited theater openings. And as many locations remain closed in key markets like Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco — and with moviegoers hesitant to return to the confines of an indoor theater — trying to figure out alternatives for big-budget projects is a key challenge going forward.
That’s why Mulan moved to Disney Plus in the first place, and why more movies may shift to streaming as well. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming Borat sequel is set to arrive on Amazon Prime Video later this month. Still, for people who don’t want to purchase Mulan but might be interested in checking it out, the film will be available to stream on Disney Plus as a regular title beginning December 4th.