Entertainment

'Mulan' Will Stream on Disney+ in September for $29.99

The long-delayed live-action adaptation will also play in some theaters where the streaming service is unavailable.

mulan movie
'Mulan' | Jasin Boland/Walt Disney Pictures
'Mulan' | Jasin Boland/Walt Disney Pictures

The wait for Disney's live-action adaptation of Mulan is almost over. During an earnings call today, Disney announced that the big-budget project, which was originally scheduled to come out on March 27 before the coronavirus completely reshuffled the theatrical release calendar, will now arrive on its streaming platform Disney+ on September 4 for an additional fee of $29.99. That means you'll have to sign-up for the service and pay again for the movie. 

In regions where Disney+ is not available, the company will release Mulan in theaters that have opened. Back in July, Disney announced that Mulan's theatrical release, which moved from March to July 24 and then to August 21 as the public health crisis unfolded, was being postponed indefinitely. “Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for Mulan as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world,” a Disney spokesperson told Variety  at the time.

Clearly, they found their solution. Earlier in the summer, Disney released its family adventure film Artemis Fowl on Disney+, scuttling the movie's planned theatrical release, and they seemed to have had great success releasing a filmed version of the Broadway hit Hamilton on the platform as well. (Like with all the major streaming services, there's little viewership data to go off of.) But Mulan, along with the Marvel superhero spin-off Black Widow, was widely considered a bigger project that the company would want to hold for a traditional theatrical release. That's not the case anymore.  

The film, a historical epic based on the 1998 animated musical and directed by Whale Rider filmmaker Niki Caro, was often mentioned in stories about the ever-shifting release date of Christopher Nolan's science-fiction blockbuster Tenet. Nolan's movie currently has a staggered theatrical release planned for August 26 in international territories and September 3 in U.S. cities where theaters are open. 

While it's tempting to view this as yet another massive setback for the struggling theatrical movie business, it's worth noting that Disney CEO Bob Chepak was quick to clarify that this doesn't signal a major shift in how the company will distribute its films. "We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed trying to say that there’s a new business windowing model," he said during the conference call, according to Deadline

The $30 price tag might look steep, but it's not too far off higher digital rental prices other major studios have used in the last few months for movies like Trolls: World Tour, Scoob, and The King of Staten Island. What's different is that the pitch for Disney+ to consumers was that it's a platform like Netflix (or the Disney-owned Hulu) where you don't necessarily expect to pay extra for individual movies or shows besides the established monthly subscription fee. Will families (and nostalgic millennials) desperate for new movies to watch mind paying the extra cash?  Like most things related to the ongoing pandemic, we'll have to wait and see. 

If you need a refresher on what Mulan is all about, check out the trailer for the film below.

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Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.