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Theatre Owners Criticise Disney for Sending Mulan Straight To Streaming

Mulan – There’s not a single business in the world that hasn’t been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Who said that the world’s favorite $130 billion worth Walt Disney is any different? The company has reported a shocking, yet not unforeseen, $5 billion loss- a first one in two long decades. Its joyful trail leading to amusement rides and an uninterrupted inflow of money have almost come to a halt, owing to the shutting down of its immensely popular theme parks. As a result, Disney has been forced to test out a new model and release the film online.

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Why do theatre owners care about Mulan so much?

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It is interesting to note that Mulan was one of the most anticipated films of 2020. A majority of theatre owners were hoping to get back in business and FINALLY earn some profits through its release. But, after postponing it multiple times, the producer of the movie has settled on dropping it on the company’s online OTT platform, called Disney+. It comes out on September 4. But there’s a catch. The movie will not be available to each and every subscriber but ON DEMAND, with the price point being $29.99 in the US. Walt Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek said, “We’re pleased to bring Mulan to a consumer base that’s been waiting for it as we’ve had to move our (release) dates several times…We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed trying to say that there’s a new business windowing model.” The movie cost more than $200 million to make. Let’s not forget that the streaming service already costs $7 a month. What are we, a bunch of never-emptying PUMA wallets? When asked about the expensive price of the movie, Chapek replied, “As you know, it’s fairly expensive to produce for consumers the quality we’re known for. Rather than simply rolling (the movie) into a free offering, we thought we can test anything when you have your own platform. We’re trying to establish a new premiere access window to capture that investment we got (in the film).

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We’ll have a chance to learn from this. From our research under a premiere access offering, not only does it get us revenue from our original transaction of PVOD, but it’s a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney+.” Sounds fair, right? Not to those cinema owners who feel like they have been duped. 

Many owners have expressed their feelings of being betrayed. Some have called it a “f*ck you to exhibitors“, while others have called the move as “hugely disappointing and mistimed.” This move has made them confront the reality of the times and has forced them to come face to face with the fact that many are still not ready to return to their cinemas, in view of the safety hazards.

 

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