Those wondering whether The Walt Disney Company would eventually give up on a traditional theatrical release for “Mulan” now have their answer.
While the coronavirus pandemic prompted Disney to accelerate the streaming release of some movies like Pixar’s “Onward,” and to send certain lower-profile movies like “Artemis Fowl” straight to Disney+, until now the company has chosen to delay its bigger releases like “Mulan” and “Black Widow.” In fact, “Mulan” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” were expected to be the first big movies in theaters whenever they reopened.
However, with the pandemic showing no real signs of subsiding in the United States, and no clear date for theatrical reopenings in key markets like New York and California, Warner Bros. recently announced that “Tenet” will not follow a traditional theatrical release schedule, and instead will open internationally this month before coming to select North American cities on September 3.
And during today’s earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that “Mulan” will launch on Disney+ on September 4 as a “premiere access” release in “most Disney+ markets” including the United States and Canada, while also being released theatrically in “certain markets.”
It sounds like subscribers will have to pay an additional $29.99 for the film, although Chapek didn’t offer any details about how this will work. If “Mulan” is popular, and if it remains unsafe to open theaters in certain geographies, then Disney could conceivably follow a similar strategy for “Black Widow” and other upcoming films.
During the call, Chapek also said that as of yesterday, Disney+ has grown to more than 60.5 million paid subscribers.