The world has been put on hold in many ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with restaurants, gyms and movie theaters closed, many organizations are finding ways to provide for their customers.
One example is Disney’s release of the new live-action remake of “Mulan.” This is a classic Disney cartoon loved by many and Disney has worked hard over the past year to create and advertise this release. As fans waited anxiously for the remake’s release and the anticipation rose higher than ever, COVID-19 hit. Disney was forced to make a decision. They decided to release “Mulan” on Disney+ with an extra charge of $29.99 on top of the subscription fee.
Considering the large budget, time and effort put in for this release, it surprised many that Disney would release such a movie on Disney+. A movie with such a large budget and many advertising campaigns without a theatrical release. Such a thing has never been seen before.
Dr. Melissa Croteau, professor and director of film studies said she is interested to see how the movie will play out.
“It’s a gamble, but I can see the potential… The new subscribers might make up some of the box-office revenue that they are going to lose,” Croteau said. “We’ll see if it is satisfactory to them or not, but it is fascinating.”
The question that arises is how releases like this will affect movie theaters and the film industry. Will they go out of business? Will the need or want to go to the movies decrease after we are past the pandemic?
“The death of the movie theater has been predicted with every new technology in visual media and those predictions have fallen flat,” Croteau said. “Do I think they are going to survive this? Yes. Do I think some theatre chains will fold? Probably.”
“Mulan” was released on Sept. 4 with many fans willing to pay the extra $29.99 to watch the film in their homes. “Mulan” is one of the most cherished Disney cartoon movies with many fans equally excited to see the film, despite not having the option to see it in theaters.
“Out of all the Disney remakes, ‘Mulan’ is pretty much the only one I’ve actually had an interest in,” said Nathan Rierson, senior film production major. “A lot of people were mad that it’s not a musical, like the original animation, but I think it’ll be cool to see a fresh take on the story.
“Just seeing live-action versions of animated sequences doesn’t really do anything for me, usually because I prefer the animated version—that’s a big reason why I haven’t really loved any of the remakes. I’m seeing ‘Mulan’ tonight, so hopefully, it’ll change the trend.”
Kennedy Brown, senior graphic design major, said she enjoyed watching the film.
“Overall I enjoyed the movie, I did appreciate the two strong female leads and thought the set design was beautiful,” Brown said. “I do wish it was funnier like the original. Considering how much money Disney makes, it is disappointing that if you already pay monthly for Disney+ you have to pay $30. But it is sort of a movie ticket, so if you watch it with your whole family you’re still paying less than going to the theater. However, I personally wouldn’t have rented it for just myself though.”
Disney has been at the forefront of many film industry changes and this is no exception. However, it remains to be seen if more production companies follow Disney’s lead with releasing new movies on streaming platforms, or if this strategy does not work for Disney at all.
“Mulan” is available exclusively on Disney+ with premier access for $29.99 with a Disney+ subscription.