Disney “very pleased” with Mulan Disney+ performance
James R | On 20, Sep 2020
Disney is “very pleased” with the performance of Mulan on its streaming service, the House of Mouse has said.
Mulan has become one of the three most significant releases this year during a strange time for the film industry. After Trolls World Tour stirred up disagreements (and eventual talks) over theatrical windows and early digital distribution, and Tenet became the first tentpole blockbuster to be released theatrically after the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent cinema closures, the live-action Mulan remake has seen Disney take yet another new road: releasing a title directly on its own subscription platform a premium, early-access fee.
The decision to debut the movie with a one-off £19.99 charge on Disney+ was met with shock by exhibitors, who are relying on big new releases to draw audiences back into cinemas at a time when concerns over safety are paramount. For Disney, the decision was officially a one-time experiment, but all eyes will be on the end result, just as they are on Tenet’s theatrical box office figures.
Christopher Nolan’s thriller is, according to Box Office Mojo, is looking at a lukewarm but not insignificant $250 million global total. How, meanwhile, has Mulan fared?
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy was asked at the Citi 2020 Global Technology Conference, where she told reporters (via Reuters): “We are very pleased with what we saw.”
That’s not very detailed but it’s definitely a positive response, with more promised at Disney’s next earnings call in November. Until then, there are some unofficial figures to give an indication of how Mulan has performed. Analytics firm 7Park Data estimated from its own research that 29 per cent of US households subscribed to Disney+ purchased the film between 4th and 12th September.
With more than 60 million subscribers worldwide, 7Park’s figures (provided to Yahoo! Finance) estimate that half of its total audience base is based in America, which would mean that roughly 9 million US Disney+ users purchased Mulan. That would rack up something like $260 million, not taking into account international figures.
Mulan has had some theatrical releases – not in the UK, for unknown reasons, but particularly in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. In its opening weekend in China, it took $23.2 million, a slight step up from Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake, which took $18.6 million at the box office – not bad going given the controversy surrounding the movie.
Crucially, though, Mulan’s performance on Disney+, unlike a theatrical release, doesn’t have to split takings with exhibitors; any premium payments within Disney’s own platform go directly to Disney. Is Mulan a success? Things are still a long way off the $1.6 billion taken at the theatrical box office by the live-action Lion King remake. Is it a profitable and a sustainable one? Time will tell.