Disney boss Bob Chapek has spoken again about Mulan's release on Disney +, and discusses the issues surrounding it.
Could the live Mulan remake have amassed a billion dollars at the box office like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast , or “only” 300-400 million for Dumbo and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ? That was the big question when Niki Caro's film was due to hit theaters. But 2020 has been there, and Disney has decided otherwise: the 200 million blockbuster is out on Disney +.
This decision provoked strong reactions especially on the side of the operators, but it was only a wave in the tidal wave of the film's shit. Actress Yifei Liu's support for the brutality of the Hong Kong police, absence of Li Shang's character supposedly to serve #MeToo, lack of diversity in the team, thanks to authorities in the Xinjiang region where the Uyghur people are said to be persecuted … calls for a boycott and other controversies against Disney have marked Mulan's life in 2020.
With the addition of a failure at the Chinese box office (where the film was released in theaters), and an opaque financial record on the American side, there was reason to wonder if all this noise had ultimately killed Mulan . Disney's official lyrics still lean towards the positive, at least on the surface.
Face the flop like a man
During the business report for the fourth quarter of 2020, Disney boss Bob Chapek declared that the studio was “satisfied with Mulan's results” on this Premium SVoD niche. It's all well and good, but hard not to pick up a few signals indicating something else.
First: Disney very (too?) Quickly announced that Mulan would be available for free to Disney + subscribers, even before the film sold for $ 29.99 on their platform. Difficult to see a lot of faith in it. Second: The studio didn't make the same choice for Soul, the next Pixar, which will simply be released on Disney + for Christmas. It's hard to imagine that if Mulan had been a huge success, Mickey wouldn't have replicated the business strategy.
Bob Chapek nonetheless admitted that Mulan's trajectory had been complicated: “Unfortunately, Mulan has encountered controversies in the US and internationally. But we saw enough positive results before this controversy began. We are holding something. with this premium access strategy. “
Tremble. And maybe get ready for Black Widow .
The cinema as a passage at Starbucks
Disney is expected to come up with crisp, clean numbers on December 10, their next big toll, but for observers, Mulan hasn't been a big hit. Notably because Disney has not bragged about it. Note also that the real Disney + box is called Hamilton , a Broadway musical which has been a phenomenon on the SVoD scene.
While waiting to know how much Disney has lost greenbacks on Mulan , the Disney + war machine continues its momentum: Mickey now has 73.7 million subscribers worldwide (and an additional 36.6 with Hulu, also owned by Disney). It's still a long way from Amazon Prime Video's 150 million and Netflix's 200 million, but with the Marvel series ( WandaVision from January 2021) and Star Wars , the Disney empire has well prepared its counterattack.
Our complete review of the successes and failures of Disney +, here.