Mulan's theatrical release was delayed three times after it was originally scheduled to hit theaters in March.
Disney's unorthodox Mulan release online – like most things during thePandemic – answers one question and raises a dozen others. After delaying Mulan's theatrical release three Since its planned launch on the big screen in March, Disney has finally given viewers an answer as to how they can watch the film: Disney will now sell access to the live action remake on a large budget on , its subscription streaming service, which already costs $ 7 a month. will also debut on the same day in countries where Disney Plus has not yet launched and where cinemas are actually open.
It is an unprecedented strategy. Unfathomable six months ago, the online sale of Mulan on the same day that it arrives in cinemas is a serious violation of the strict rules that new films are normally kept only in cinemas for 75 days or more. Until the pandemic, Disney had been a loyal friend of these theater windows and had more box office hits than any other studio in the past five years.
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But it's also a twist in how Disney Plus has been introduced to the public since its launch in November. Disney Plus has been marketed as a rival to Netflix, an all-you-can-eat buffet that streams almost anything Disney produces for a monthly subscription. But Mulan will be an additional transaction that members will have to pay – and an expensive one at that. This will be new to the 60 million subscribers to Disney Plus.
Some of the intricacies of Disney's Mulan release have come into focus: people who pay the $ 30 for Mulan can see them as long as they remain active Disney Plus subscribers. In other words, this is not an expensive rent.
And Disney's CEO said Mulan's strategy does not set a new standard for how other Disney films will reach audiences during the pandemic. Mulan is an experiment, and it doesn't necessarily require other films like Marvel's Black Widow to hit theaters on November 6 and go the same way.
But despite the convention, we still don't know much about how Mulan's release will go. When Disney asked a list of questions, he said he didn't comment on Mulan's publication beyond what he said Tuesday.
Here are the five biggest questions that remain unanswered.
Where in the world is Mulan sold online and where will it be in the cinemas?
Disney confirmed Tuesday that Mulan will be released on Disney Plus in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with those countries mentioned by name. In addition, things become blurry.
Mulan will be available on Disney Plus in "a number of Western European countries," the company said. Disney Plus currently operates in 10 Western European countries, with more in the pipeline, but Disney has not specified which European countries are intended for Mulan's online publication.
Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, said Mulan will appear in cinemas "in certain markets where Disney Plus launch plans are not currently announced and where theaters are open".
What does that mean for countries with Disney Plus launch plans taking place after Mulan's debut? Are you excluded from any access to Mulan? Disney Plus will be launched in eight other European countries on September 15, almost two weeks after Mulan's premiere: Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Will they be excluded from Mulan's theatrical release and online release? And Disney Plus is slated to launch in Latin America somehow in November, but the company hasn't yet provided dates or countries. Does Latin America count as a place with an announced start plan and is therefore excluded from the theatrical release?
And we don't know if Mulan's release on Disney Plus is mutually exclusive with a movie release in a country that could support both. For example, New Zealand is confirmed to bring Mulan to Disney Plus – but New Zealand's cinemas are wide open, an advantage for the country that keeps the corona virus under control. Will kiwi audiences have a choice of seeing Mulan either online or in the cinema, or will the film skip theaters there because it has been approved for Disney Plus?
We don't even know exactly how much Mulan will cost in international markets on Disney Plus. The film will be priced at $ 30 in the US, and Disney has announced that international prices will vary, but should be close to the cost of $ 30.
Will Mulan eventually be available to stream as part of a standard Disney Plus subscription? When?
In the pre-pandemic era, Disney Disney Plus typically added its releases about six to nine months after its premiere. But now that Mulan's theatrical release is on the same day as the Disney Plus arrival, will the service remove the $ 30 fee on the same schedule?
Here, too, we hardly have a precedent that leads us here. This so-called day-and-date release model – when a film comes to the cinemas and home at the same time – is rare, especially for a film the size of Mulan. When Universal released its sequel to the Trolls World Tour in April, which was offered both in cinemas and at a high-cost rental, the company said it would stick to the standard phases of a movie release after the premiere. However, it is unclear whether Disney will behave similarly.
Speaking of which, will Mulan be an exclusive Disney Plus online product in the long term, or will customers have the opportunity to eventually rent or buy it in other stores such as Amazon Video or Apple TV? We just don't know.
Can people who buy Mulan from Disney Plus download it to watch offline?
Disney Plus has a generous download policy. Almost everything on the service can be downloaded for offline viewing. The service limits the number of mobile or tablet devices that subscribers can download to and does not allow more than 10 devices. However, this is the only limitation.
However, it is unclear whether Mulan will be a downloadable title. The fact that Mulan access is not expiring suggests that the title may also contain other permissions that every other item in the Disney Plus library offers, including downloads. Customers can download rental devices in other video-on-demand stores such as Apple's TV app and Amazon Video. For Disney Plus, however, we have no track record.
How will the Disney Plus user interface enable video on demand purchase?
Other video services offer transaction films and buy live alongside subscription libraries. Both Amazon and Apple do this by providing Prime Video members and Apple TV Plus members with titles that you can rent and buy. However, these platforms emerged as transaction stores and later added their subscription libraries.
The short life of Disney Plus was a wide open all-access library, which is why the user interface does not currently offer any memory-like functions. For example, Disney Plus mobile apps don't currently have their own tab or hub to find purchases. Since Mulan doesn't expire as long as you keep your Disney Plus membership active, the title may just be unlocked as part of your wider Disney Plus catalog. You can find it by searching for it, adding it to your watchlist, or browsing the Disney section of the app. But we don't know either.
Are Disney Plus subscribers automatically charged with their payment method or do they have to enter payment information?
An additional $ 30 payment is required to unlock Mulan on Disney Plus. For monthly subscribers, the service will automatically calculate the payment method that you have already deposited for your monthly membership fee. However, some of these payment methods, such as in-app purchases, involve high fees that Disney has to pay. Disney may restrict the platforms on which you can pay for Mulan, so you may need to enter new payment information.
Even if Disney Plus chooses to simply bill your payment method, Snafus can trigger it for people who are annual or long-term subscribers. The long delay between the first and only payment of an annual member to Disney Plus increases the possibility of expired credit cards or other factors that can cause an automatic payment to fail.
The very first people to sign up for Disney Plus paid for a discounted three-year subscription known as the Founder's Circle Deal. But these subscribers will not have touched their Disney Plus payment details in more than a year when Mulan arrives. This could mean that the most loyal Disney Plus subscribers are most likely to encounter payment issues.
Will Mulan have subtitles for the hearing impaired? Will there be descriptive audio tracks for people with visual impairments?
Cinemas usually have accommodations for people with disabilities, but they are unreliable. In the United States, theaters have to provide subtitled display devices for people with hearing impairments. And for users with visual impairments, theaters must have devices that play audio description tracks. These are special traces that describe the action taking place and are interspersed with the dialogue of a film. But these devices in cinemas can be cumbersome, tend to run out of batteries or are notorious for missing dialogues.
Disney Plus has a strong track record of accessibility. The service supports subtitles and descriptive audio, and Disney Plus apps offer navigation support to help subscribers with disabilities. In July, the American Council of the Blind Disney Plus awarded a performance award for its descriptive audio.
Since subtitles and descriptive audio have to be prepared for new films so that cinemas can comply with accessibility laws, Disney probably already has these accessibility features for Mulan. For the Disney Plus release of the film, the only thing it can do is record the subtitles and descriptive audio for Mulan when the service loads the title itself, as it does for the rest of its programming. However, since Disney doesn't comment on Mulan's details, this includes support for the film's accessibility.
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