When it comes to movies, games and TV shows, a passionate, yet vocal subset of any given fanbase has a tendency to drive the public narrative. Over the past few months, we’ve seen everything from death threats, insults and ridiculous demands being hurled at creative talent, and this year alone, we’ve reported on petitions focused on remaking the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones to trying to replace Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.
Needless to say, fans will always find a way to lodge a complaint at a franchise that they hold near and dear to their heart, even if their demands and opinions are rather ridiculous. Unfortunately for Disney, the call to boycott one of their upcoming projects has begun to gain traction and could present a problem when it comes to overseas box office totals.
Last week, Mulan actress Liu Yifei came under fire after taking to Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, writing: “I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now.” This message, which was capped off with heart and arm-flexing emoji and an “IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice” hashtag, was sent out to her 65 million followers.
While other Hong Kong actors have pledged their support for the city’s police in the midst of pro-democracy protests (including well-known martial artist Jackie Chan), it seems Yifei’s detractors are honing in on the fact that she’s set to play a young woman who is fighting against evil and injustice. As a result, the #BoycottMulan hashtag has been growing in popularity over the past few days.
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While some are arguing Liu is being unfairly singled out, others have noted that Disney is finding themselves between a rock and a hard place. With a protest planned at the company’s Hong Kong resort and theme park in the coming days, there’s a chance the House of Mouse will have to break their silence on the matter.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Stanley Rosen, a professor at the University of Southern California and an expert on Chinese entertainment, shed some light on the matter, saying:
“Disney can’t support the protesters because their business in China is too important, but they obviously can’t be seen as pandering too much to China either, because that could backfire as well, depending on how the situation in Hong Kong unfolds.”
We aren’t entirely sure if the call to boycott Mulan will have much of an effect stateside, but considering the potential buying power of Chinese moviegoers, Disney might find themselves losing out on revenue if this campaign continues to gain traction.
Source: Heroic Hollywood