Mulan’s producer Jason Reed recently spoke with Deadline to promote the release of the movie on Disney+, which is going to be a special premium video-on-demand purchase, since the closure of cinemas due to the Coronavirus has seen Mulan’s release delayed mutiple times.
In the interview, Deadline asked Jason Reed about the special release of Mulan on Disney+:
Movie theaters are still reopening from the pandemic. It’s going to be a while before New York and LA come back online. What is your take on Mulan’s move to Disney+ (in territories which have the streaming service), and were you a part of that distribution decision?
He gave a very detailed response about the release of the film:
I was not part of that decision. We were aware that it was a possibility and we have been very much involved in the conversations about when and how to release the movie, although ultimately that was always Disney’s decision. I think we find ourselves in extraordinary times and I don’t think that anything that is happening during the pandemic is setting a precedent for what has to happen in the future. However, I do think that the pandemic has accelerated plans that we were already seeing. In our industry, as well as every other industries, my sense is that what we were seeing and what we’ve been seeing is a more dynamic distribution model evolving, one that tailors the distribution for the creative content as much as it does for the actual business model that’s preexisting; whether that’s day and date theatrical and streaming or whether it’s a hybrid approach like this is going to be, where some territories are theatrical and some territories are streaming only.
There’s going to be, I believe, a period of time where all of these things become arrows in the quiver and it’s not going to fall back into the old model of, well, here’s the windows that we have and here’s the order in which we go, and here’s how long each one is if we’re going to individually sell off those windows where we have a big movie and it’s going to do X, and then we’re going to put it in the drive-ins and second-run theaters, and then we’re going to put it out in premium, and then we’re going to put it here, and then it’ll run on television. I don’t think that’s going to continue as a set-in-stone model, but what I think what we will see is exhibition and distribution having to figure out how to best optimize each unit, and if it’s a small indie movie with a very specific audience, well, then streaming only might be the best approach to getting that to the most number of people.
If it’s a big spectacular film that really demands a theatrical release, well, then maybe it goes into theatrical with a long run, maybe it goes for a short run, and goes to a premium SVOD or electronic cell model. I think that everything is open, and everything is going to change. My personal belief is that the theatrical experience will continue regardless of the business trends because I think there is a real value to communal film watching. Whether it’s a big comedy, or a big event film, or a big action movie, the experience is enhanced by sitting with an audience and I think that because even if something’s available on streaming there still might be a theatrical release. There are films that I still sneak off and go see at revival houses all the time because I think it’s really fun.
Now that the Paramount Decrees are gone, I’m very curious to see what happens with exhibition over the next five years. Looking back at the Spanish Flu pandemic, of 1918-1919, that really led to the creation of exhibition. Prior to that, they were basically little mom and pop shops, so with one screen, two screens owned by a family, and when the pandemic shut everything down they all were going bankrupt. So, Adolph Zucker, and soon to be followed by many others, went in and started buying them up out of bankruptcy, or out of desperation and built those additional studio exhibition arms, which then got tossed out, which ended that stuff because of the Paramount Decree, but it laid the foundation for the studio system that operated really until the ‘80s, late ‘70s and that is something that came out of that stronger than it had ever been. By 1921 they were already doing much higher business than they did prior, so I don’t see any reason to think that this pandemic is going to cause any long-term harm to the business, and in fact, I think there’s a lot of indication that it will position the business in a much better place going forward.
His response was interesting since he seems very open to the idea of movies being released on streaming platforms and thinks that’s going to be happening more frequently. However, he doesn’t think the cinema experience is going to completely be lost.
Mulan will be available as part of the Premier Access program, which is priced at $29.99.
Will you be purchasing Mulan on Disney+?