Disney will release Mulan online to rent on Sept. 4 for $30 in US – CNET
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Joan E. Solsman Aug. 4, 2020 2:00 p.m. PT
Listen – 01:28 Disney Studios, like all the Hollywood studios, has shut down productions and postposed movie releases because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Getty Images Disney will release its live-action film Mulan online through its Disney Plus service on Sept. 4, but it won’t be included as part of your standard subscription. It will cost $30 in US, with the price coming close to that in international markets where it’ll will be available too, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of countries in Western Europe.
The movie, which was supposed to premiere in theaters in March but had been delayed multiple times since, will be available through the company’s Disney Plus streaming service, seemingly skipping other popular stores for rentals like iTunes, Amazon and others. Disney said that Mulan would be available on a “premiere access basis,” which usually means a high-price rental.
For more like this Subscribe to the TVs, Streaming and Audio newsletter, receive notifications and see related stories on CNET. The company will also release Mulan theatrically on Sept. 4 in markets where Disney Plus isn’t operating yet and wherever cinemas are open and operating.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters, while also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of the Disney Plus subscription with great content,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Tuesday during a call that discussed the company’s fiscal third-quarter results.
The coronavirus has shuttered cinemas around the world and forced studios across the board to delay big-budget films for months and years, with no certainty in sight for when theaters can reopen at large or when audiences will feel comfortable sitting in windowless, enclosed rooms for hours.
Disney’s changes underscore how disruptive the pandemic has been to Hollywood studio’s meticulously planned release cycles. As theaters closed and coronavirus preventive measures keep people stuck at home, studios have mostly decided keep pushing back the theatrical release dates for mega-budget pictures. But with their tentpole movies in a holding pattern, studios could be setting themselves up to all release a glut of movies on top of each other, crimping ticket sales.
Smaller-budget films began to get sent straight to online sales and rentals or streaming services, such as Disney’s decision to release its Hamilton film and its young-adult sci-fi movie Artemis Fowl on Disney Plus rather than theaters. And Universal has released new movies like DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour and others as special online rentals.
Universal’s Trolls World Tour online release enraged cinemas, with US chain AMC even vowing it would ban Universal movies from its screens, including its blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise. But last month, Universal struck a deal with AMC to patch things up, promising to give theaters three weekends of exclusivity for new movies going forward.
In early May, Disney CEO Bob Chepak said the company would be evaluating each movie on a case-by-case basis, and he hinted that COVID-19 may force Disney to explore other options besides debuting movies in theaters exclusively if “theaters aren’t open or aren’t open to the extent that anybody needs to be financially viable.”
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