Disney’s production line of live-action remakes from their extensive back catalogue of animated classics have proven to be a hugely lucrative revenue stream for the Mouse House in recent years, and one that looks set to continue with next month’s release of Mulan. A lot of these remakes have come in for criticism for failing to bring anything new to their beloved stories, instead relying on established dialogue, plot and character moments in an attempt to cash in on that sweet, sweet nostalgia.
However, Mulan looks set to be an entirely different proposition, and not just because it will be the first of the live-action Disney remakes to land a PG-13 rating. Director Niki Caro has intentionally omitted the songs and diminutive sidekick from the fan-favorite 1998 animation, and instead looks to have fashioned a sweeping historical epic, which just so happens to share some DNA with a Disney classic.
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It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Mulan though, with comments made last summer on social media by star Liu Yifei in relation to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong leading to a massive online campaign to boycott the movie. It doesn’t seem to have blown over either, with a newly-released TV spot getting downvoted on YouTube by a 3-to-1 ratio, showing that there’s no sign of the boycott slowing down as it gets closer to the release date.
This could set alarm bells ringing in Disney HQ, as there’s every chance that the boycott could cause Mulan to bomb at the box office in a market that has proven increasingly bankable for the studio in recent years, with The Lion King making over $120 million in China last year. There’s no doubt that the movie is going to make a ton of money at the box office regardless, but having such a high-profile backlash against it in one of the biggest and most powerful countries on the planet isn’t exactly the kind of reputation that Disney want for one of their major projects in 2020.