Months before Mulan generated controversy by being pulled from theaters entirely and sent exclusively to Disney Plus, the latest live-action Disney remake was plagued by a different sort of backlash. Last summer, there were calls for Chinese audiences to boycott the movie after star Liu Yifei publicly defended the Hong Kong police, who had been accused of using excessive force towards peaceful protestors.
There were even reports that the blockbuster could have ended up bombing in Chinese theaters, which would have been a huge blow for Disney after they’d made a deliberate effort to ensure that Mulan would be able to get past the country’s notoriously strict censorship board, which is the main reason why wise-cracking dragon sidekick Mushu isn’t involved.
Now that the sweeping historical epic is available to Disney Plus subscribers for a one-off fee, the campaign to boycott Mulan has reignited as protestors across Asia encourage fans to avoid handing over their hard-earned cash for a movie that they claim is made by a pro-Beijing studio and stars an actress in the lead role who made her anti-democracy stance perfectly clear last year.
Unfortunately for the protestors, though, there’s very little chance of that happening, with Mulan poised to bring in big bucks for the Mouse House, especially when they can keep all of the revenue for themselves without having to split any profits with the theatrical industry. Not only that, but the Chinese box office is also rebounding, with The Eight Hundred bringing in over $275 million already after being released two weekends ago.
With Mulan having been specifically tailored to appeal directly to the nation’s audiences, and China one of the few major territories where it will get a theatrical release, it looks virtually guaranteed at this point to pull in some pretty big numbers whether there’s a boycott or not.