In June, Disney is releasing its latest live action movie, “Artemis Fowl”, directly onto Disney+, rather than in cinemas because of the Coronavirus crisis.
With cinemas closed around the world, Disney, along with many other film studios have pushed back release dates for their movies. “Black Widow” and “Soul” have been moved to November, “New Mutants” moved to August, while “The Jungle Cruise” was delayed a whole year and these moves have caused a domino effect with scheduling. While Universal released “Trolls: World Tour” and Warner Brothers released “Scoob” directly onto digital platforms as a premium rental/purchase.
Disney’s “Mulan” was originally going to be released in March, but Disney pushed back the release date to July 24th, along with Marvel’s “The New Mutants” and “The One and Only Ivan”, following in August, hoping that cinemas would be open.
While in the United States, some states have reopened cinemas, but this past week, it was announced that San Francisco wouldn’t be opening cinemas until mid-August. Movies need to be released internationally now to recover their costs and to make profits. Many countries around the world are slowly allowing some businesses to open, but many are still going to be restricting how many people can go to a theater. Ireland is currently scheduled to reopen its cinemas in August, China had previously reopened its cinemas, but closed them down following a spike in infections.
This could throw Disney’s plans for releasing movies into theaters this summer into more disarray. Especially if movie fans don’t return to cinemas over the summer to watch these movies. In addition to theaters having to operate at a reduced capacity, reducing how many people can see these movies.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Analyst Michael Nathanson said that Disney might opt to kill the theatrical release of “Mulan”, releasing it as a premium on demand title, with a quick release onto Disney+ for Labor Day.
The analyst says that if “Mulan” could do just 50% of the usual $1 billion Disney tentpoles, “it will be a freakin’ home run”. He went on to say that a streaming-focused release “could give Disney a bit of a boost and limit churn” on Disney+. In terms of share price, “the story about Disney+ and Hulu has given the stock a bit of support,” Nathanson said. “If they do kill “Mulan”, that could help the narrative. In a perverse way, that could be better for Disney stock in the long run than having “Mulan” go to theaters.”
Personally, I could see Disney doing a mixture, releasing in cinemas and digital platforms at the same time, making it possible to get “Mulan” onto Disney+ in early September. Similar to what they did with Pixar’s Onward. Disney is going to need to pull in as much money as it possibly can for “Mulan”, since it has cost over $200 million. So it would take millions of brand new subscribers to bring in enough money to cover those costs. So going directly to Disney+ isn’t ideal.
To put “Mulan’s” budget into perspective against other Disney+ Original movies, “Lady and the Tramp” had a budget o $60 million, “Togo” was $40 million and “Timmy Failure” was $42 million. And “Artemis Fowl” had a budget of $125 million dollars, however had it been a direct to Disney+ movie, I doubt the budget would have been as high.
Disney Chairman, Bob Iger said earlier this year that “there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+”, however that’s more likely for a movie like “The One And Only Ivan”, since nothing about that movie has been revealed, such as its budget, a trailer or any images.
Disney is still planning on releasing “Mulan” in cinemas, but things are changing quickly right now.
Do you want to go see “Mulan” in cinemas or will you wait to watch from home?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.