The release of “Mulan” on Disney+ as part of its “Premier Access” has been a significant change for Disney’s release window strategy and recently Disney CFO Christine McCarthy spoke at the Citi 2020 Global Technology Conference about why Disney decided to release “Mulan” in this way. The move to Disney+ from theatres was “not an easy decision” and that “There were so many factors at play here.”
This was not an easy decision to make because there were so many factors at play here. Mulan was done. It was completed. It would have been released were it not for theaters being closed earlier than this. And we had moved the release date several times. And still, theaters in the U.S. and around the world, they started opening up before the U.S. really started opening. But still, you only had 68% of theaters now open. And what we’re missing in that 68% are some really big markets. Basically, you don’t have California. So the big markets of San Francisco and Los Angeles are left out. New York is left out. So there’s some big markets.
And we looked at what’s the best way for us to get Mulan into the market. And yes, of course, we did some research, and we looked at all these different permutations. But we believe that getting it to — giving customers the opportunity to buy it on the PVOD with Disney+ made sense. And we did it once again because it was the right way to get it to consumers. And we know what the statistics are on consumer behavior when people are asked, would you go to a theater? Now it’s gone up a little bit in the last month or last several weeks. But still, a lot of that has to do with what demographic you’re in.
In general, if you look at that research, you’ll see that older people are less likely; probably younger people, the same people who are doing things that we see on the news shows that they shouldn’t be doing and crowding and partying, they’re probably more likely to go to a theater. But would a family with young kids go? Probably not. Would older people or people who have more responsibilities at this point in their lives? Those are the numbers. But in aggregate, you’re looking at, at best about 40%.
So given that, that’s why we went. Now I would say a collateral benefit is what we saw in some additional new subscribers, but that wasn’t the driving force. It was really a collateral benefit, and we’re certainly happy to have people come on the service. And if they had been on the fence before, look at the value proposition of Disney+, which is very accessibly priced, if you will and also looking at the price of Mulan. And once again, I think some people say like, “Oh, my goodness, it’s $29.95. That’s a lot.” But if you have a family of 4, do the math. If you don’t have to drive. You don’t have to park. You can make your own popcorn, and you can drink whatever you want to drink in your own home with your friends or family or whatever. So I think when you do that, it’s actually a pretty good deal. And also, it’s not a 48-hour rental. When you acquired that movie, you have it. And granted, it will eventually come on to Disney+, but it’s not going to be there for another few months. And so that’s what we did domestically.
The other thing about Mulan, I just want to point out, is we also had 2 other ways of distributing this. One is theatrically in some parts of the world. So we will go into theatrical markets, theatrical release in markets that have the right number for our judgment of driving a decent box office. And also for some places that we don’t have Disney+ launched, but we have plans to launch it in the future, we will just put that in as one of the offerings on Disney+ without having a premium VOD component to it.
One of the critical things she mentioned is while they believe adults are more likely to go to the cinema, families aren’t, and with Disney’s major tentpole titles like “Mulan” aimed at families, their research might have paid off. As during the conference, Christine McCarthy did confirm that executives are “very pleased” with the results of “Mulan’s” Disney+ release. She also confirmed that more information would be revealed at the next quarterly financial results, which are due in November.
Would you have gone to cinemas to see “Mulan”?
Source – Deadline