With movie theaters now closed due to COVID-19, many films will forgo a theatrical release and be sent straight to digital rental and streaming services.
Disney’s “Onward” has already hit Disney+, with “Artemis Fowl” scheduled to join it on June 12. However, this will not be the case with Disney’s live-action “Mulan” film, which is now set to be theatrically released on July 24 according to collider.com.
Some fans are appreciative of the decision, because it means the studio’s intended viewing experience is being preserved. Others feel the empowering distraction of a female warrior would do people some good, and that the release is being held up for financial reasons.
According to indiewire.com, “Mulan” had a budget of around $200 million, making it the most expensive female-directed, live action movie ever made. While “Onward” had a budget of $175-$200 million, it was released on the big screen before the theater closings, and it was even sold as a digital download for $19.99 before it came to Disney+. The studio likely profited from it as much as they could under the circumstances.
As for “Artemis Fowl,” the decision for its new Disney+ debut stems from the studio’s belief that it will at least give the lower-budget film the opportunity to “draw more subscribers,” according to variety.com — this would be a weighty economic gamble for an anticipated blockbuster like “Mulan.” In fact, variety.com reported that “Mulan” is predicted to earn roughly $85 million when it hits the U.S. box office alone.
GHC economics student and Disney enthusiast, Brittany Skeen, was upset that “Mulan” would not be available yet, but she has also examined the financial side of the situation.
“I was highly disappointed when they did not release the movie to digital download,” Skeen said. “However, from an economist standpoint, I see why they did not as well. This is their first Asian film to be released. They have put so much into marketing and want to give it the huge moment it deserves.”
“There is very little in Asian representation out there,” Skeen said. “So for Mulan to be finally coming out in Hollywood, I can see the bigger picture for Disney.”
She also expressed that, despite understanding Disney’s side, people would benefit from seeing a strong, brave character like Mulan in times like these.