It’s been a long road to release for Disney’s live-action Mulan, which has been one of the more notable movies to have its theatrical premiere delayed due to COVID-19. Originally supposed to arrive in theaters on March 27th, Mulan was already being discussed in March as possibly having an initial release on Disney Plus. One of the key reasons at the time was the sheer amount of money Disney was losing, with much of this coming from theme park closures.
Grace Randolph, who previously hinted at Disney putting Mulan out on VOD, has today reinforced that idea. Answering questions on Twitter about Disney’s upcoming theatrical slate, including the delayed Black Widow, she had this to say:
“Mulan is looking likely I don’t think so anymore for BW, unless moviegoing really craters when theaters reopen.”
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While some theaters still appear to be hoping to reopen their doors this summer, including AMC and Cinemark, there still remains a lot of questions over whether audiences will return to cinemas straight away. Analysts have recently suggested that Disney may now see a greater financial and branding value in releasing Mulan on Disney Plus, both in terms of driving new subscribers to the service and for boosting awareness of the movie for domestic and international markets.
Mulan‘s original theatrical release was first pushed back to July 24th, where it may face limited competition from other major studios. However, Disney may now see this as too risky, especially given that they’d have to un-furlough a lot of employees to work on marketing and theatrical duties. Theater chains are presumably also concerned that, if Disney enjoys success with the streaming method, there could be a repeat of recent VOD disputes such as those between Universal and AMC.
For now, we’ll have to wait for official confirmation of what Disney want to do with Mulan, although we’d expect that decision soon if they’re still working towards a July theatrical premiere. Another option could be that they simply push it back another few months, although they may not want to compete against the delayed Black Widow, which is now set for November. Whatever the case, we’d hope that those wanting to see the new Mulan won’t have too long to wait.