After months of delays and uncertainties, Disney has reportedly announced that Mulan will premiere on Disney+ instead of its previously planned theatrical release. The film will be released on Sept. 4, available only on Disney+ — but there's a catch. Disney+ subscribers will have to pay a rental fee of $29.99, per Variety. It might be more expensive than a traditional movie ticket, but it's a price many fans are willing to pay in exchange for not having to wait for movie theaters to be declared safe to re-open.
Mulan was originally supposed to come out on March 27, and was one of the first major box-office blockbusters to delay its release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, of course, many films have been delayed to do coronavirus — including Tenent, Wonder Woman 1984, Fast 9, and Black Widow. Earlier in the summer, Disney had scheduled Mulan for an August release, but with no end to the pandemic in sight — worldwide, but specifically in the U.S. — and no timeline for when it will be safe to re-open movie theaters, let alone when audiences will actually be comfortable going to the theater, it seems the studio had second thoughts.
It's a surprising change in course for the studio, which seemed determined to release Mulan in theaters. On April 3, once it became evident that the shelter-in-place orders would last more than a couple weeks to a month, director Niki Caro released a statement via the film's official Twitter account, promising in part, "Once it is again safe to gather, to sit in a movie theater together and share the experience of a great story, we will be there."
Some lucky fans will, however, get to see Mulan on the big screen. According to Deadline, Mulan will be released in theaters in certain markets where Disney+ is not yet available, or where movie theaters are re-opening (as they are in China and some European countries.) Furthermore, Disney CEO Bob Chepak reportedly told investors that the studio is hoping this new rollout will be a "a one-off" and not "a new business windowing model." So, fans already wondering if Black Widow could meet the same fate need not worry — for now.
And while that's great news for fans who have been humming "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" under their breath while they work from home, it's also a blow to the film — a rare Hollywood blockbuster staring an all-Asian cast. Hopefully audiences will still be willing to support the film, and it's $30 price tag, come September.