Back in August, Walt Disney announced a devastating blow for theatres in the UK, US. Mulan the live-action epic based on the animated cartoon of the same name from 1998, was moving to Disney Plus.
The film continued to have a theatrical release in some European Markets, Asia Pacific & China.
Where it has been met with intense backlash both from both Western & Eastern audiences for differing reasons.
Chinese audiences have taken exception to a portrayal that exemplifies stereotypes & what the South China Morning Post calls a false tale of ‘female empowerment’.
Xinjiang Human Rights Abuse
Whilst audiences in the West have protested against the thanks given in the credits to what NBC reports as ‘Chinese Government agencies that have been accused of extreme human rights violations in the Xinjiang province’.
This has resulted in a more than tepid box office performance in China, scoring $29.6 Million in its opening weekend.
Yet for an American blockbuster, from Walt Disney no less, that is the first-star vehicle of it’s kind with a female Chinese lead, it’s a massive underperformance.
For context, the Chinese created war epic, The Eight Hundred opened on Aug 21st and took a whopping $75 million on a current gross of $391 million.
Whilst it hasn’t performed well in theatres yet if recent reports are to be believed, putting the $200 million dollar blockbuster on Disney Plus might just have been an astute call.
Yahoo Finance is reporting that data obtained from analytics firm 7Park Data, suggests that with the recent uptick on opening weekend on the streaming service of subscribers, points to a massive 9 million users purchasing the movie.
$261 Million in US Sales
That equates to approx. $261 million in US sales alone, from the $30 fee that they attached to the Disney Plus exclusive. Now if we add that total to the current worldwide box office that leaves it heading towards the $300 million mark with a lot of room to grow.
This isn’t including Disney Plus estimates from other nations such as the United Kingdom. Of course, until Disney releases the actual figures, this is just conjecture at best.
But the signs are proving that despite the controversy, Disney financially may have made the right call, and if its success is deemed good enough, this could push other titles the same way.
We reported earlier this week that Marvel’s Black Widow was likely to move dates, along with Soul looking more likely to head to Disney Plus as a result.
Whilst cinemas worldwide struggle in consumer confidence, and a lack of titles from studios, it’s possible Disney will look to release more big theatrical budgeted films onto the small screen as a result of Mulan.
If Mulan can do these estimated numbers on Disney Plus you have to imagine what something as appealing as Soul could do with family audiences around the globe.
And if we remember how pleased Universal was with Trolls 2, we’ll have to watch this space to see if this gives further reasoning for Disney to continue with sidestepping theatres for the time being.
What do you make of this news?
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