Disney’s long-awaited live-action remake of Mulan is finally primed for release in mere days. Given the tumultuous times we’re living in, it should be no wonder this release will be quite different from other major releases. Here’s what Australians need to know in order to peep it.
The Virus That Shall Not Be Named threw a spanner in the works for 2020’s movie releases. Cinemas were one of the first to be crossed off the list when it started getting precarious and that meant many scheduled films were pushed back or released without physical theatre runs.
One notable film affected was Disney‘s much-anticipated remake of Mulan. In an alternate universe, sans a global pandemic, Mulan would’ve been in cinemas by late March. In our universe, however, that date was pushed back to July, then August and then firmly landed on its September appointment where it’s expected to stay.
With the world still under the grips of the public health crisis, the film’s release will be a little unorthodox. Here’s what you need to know.
When is Mulan being released in Australia?
Mulan will finally be available to watch in Australia by Friday, September 4. As mentioned, it is scheduled to arrive nearly six months after its original release date.
#Mulan is exciting, vibrant, emotional, and different from the animated version. It's definitely its own thing, which I dug – a more mature Disney film, featuring stunning production design & fight choreography. Director Niki Caro & star Liu Yifei are the big stand-outs, imo pic.twitter.com/p6IEQUDNBu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) March 10, 2020
Delay setbacks aside, the film’s initial critical reaction back in March was pretty positive. Instead of focusing on the original animation’s stereotypes, this version takes a more serious, realistic approach. That also means the musical classics from the original will are gone but incorporated in other ways.
#Mulan is absolutely fantastic. Different enough with great action scenes, but with the heart of the original film. It doesn't even matter that it's not a musical. If you're a fan of the animated, there are subtle nods to many of the songs. Can’t wait to see this again.
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) March 10, 2020
Unlike other major Disney releases, however, you won’t be able to simply duck into a cinema to see it.
How to watch Mulan
Mulan‘s release marks a major departure from other big film drops — it’s skipping its theatre run altogether. Partially out of necessity in the midst of a global pandemic but it’s also an experiment Disney is keenly watching.
Instead, Australians will have to watch the film through their screens at home with a Disney+ subscription. It’s called “Premier Access” and if you’re already signed up, it’ll cost you an extra $34.99 but you’ll be able to rewatch it as long as you’re subscribed to the service.
There’s also nothing stopping you making this a group event, which is a cheaper option for everyone that the cinema.
If you’ve yet to create an account, it’ll cost you a total of $43.98 with a monthly subscription included.
Gizmodo Australia has confirmed the title will remain exclusive on Disney+ for an undisclosed period of time.
Will Disney be doing this for future releases too?
Mulan is being released through the Premier Access feature on Disney+ but it’s expected to be a one-off for now.
Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO, explained the $200 million film’s release on its streaming service wasn’t intended to be a new release model moving forward.
“We are looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed to a new windowing model,” Chapek said of the film’s unusual release method.
Artemis Fowl, like Mulan, was originally slated for a cinema release this year but ultimately went straight to Disney+ without an extra fee tacked on top. Other major Disney films expected to be released within a year’s time include Cruella, a 101 Dalmatians live-action spin-off, as well as Avatar 2 at the end of 2021.
In a uncertain world, it’s hard to say whether Mulan will be the first and last major Disney film to skip the cinemas. It’s something only time will tell.