Variety reports Disney’s live-action remake of its 1998 animated film Mulan will skip cinemas and come out on the streaming service Disney Plus on September 4. It will be available to subscribers as a premium rental for an additional $29.99. In countries where this streaming service isn’t available, Mulan will play in cinemas instead.
Initially scheduled for November 2, 2018 release, Mulan premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 9, 2020. Two days later, the World Health Organization announced COVID-19 was a global pandemic, bringing the entertainment industry to a screeching halt as cinemas closed and productions stopped. Disney first rescheduled its $200 million epic for July 24, 2020, and then again to August 21, 2020. On July 23, Mulan was removed from the movie release calendar entirely.
Just last week, NBCUniversal and AMC Theaters reached an agreement allowing Universal to release its most recent titles digitally after only three weekends in cinemas (until now, a widely agreed period was 70 days). If the largest movie theater chain in the world and the biggest entertainment corporation are willing to embrace digital distribution, others will undoubtedly follow. In the long runs, decisions like these will cause a widespread change in the movie distribution model, possibly at the expanse of movie theaters.
Mulan is a based on Chinese ballad about a fictional female warrior who took the place of her aging father in the army and fought for her country. Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), the film features Chinese-American actress and singer Liu Yifei in the titular role. Other cast members include Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story), Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern), Jet Li (The Expendables), Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Tzi Ma (The Man in the High Castle).