At the 11th hour, Amazon has come on board as a partner for Disney Plus’ “Mulan” $29.99 early-access movie release.
“Mulan” is available for purchase inside the Disney Plus app on Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablet devices, an Amazon rep confirmed Friday. As previously announced, Disney Plus subs also can buy access to the live-action remake directly through disneyplus.com as well as through Apple, Google, and Roku devices for $30 in the U.S. (on top of the $6.99/month subscription price).
Those who purchase Premier Access of “Mulan” will be able to stream the film for “as long as you are an active Disney Plus subscriber,” according to Disney. In three months, “Mulan” will be available to all Disney Plus subscribers (as of Dec. 4, 2020) for no additional cost.
“Mulan” was originally set to get a theatrical release in March 2020. The film became available Friday (Sept. 4) after months of postponements because of the COVID pandemic. It remains a question whether Disney will recoup the estimated $200 million production budget for the “Mulan” remake by through the largely premium VOD release (with some theatrical runs, including in China) — many customers are likely to simply wait until it’s available in the baseline Disney Plus package.
Meanwhile, for purchases that flow through Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku, the Mouse House will pay a certain percentage of the retail price to those third-party partners, a Disney rep confirmed. The company would not disclose the terms of those distribution deals but industry analysts believe it’s probably 20%; Apple and Google usually take a 30% cut of in-app purchases and Roku asks for 20%.
The film, directed by Niki Caro, is a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1998 animated feature. Like the original, the new “Mulan” follows a young warrior in China who disguises herself as a man to spare her elderly father from having to serve in the military.
In Variety‘s review of the “Mulan” remake, critic Peter Debruge called the film “spectacular” but said it “puts plot above character, depriving Mulan of a robust personality.” Caro’s “whirlwind cover of the 1998 cartoon represents American studios’ most whole-hearted embrace of Asian film aesthetics since ‘The Matrix,'” Debruge wrote.
The international cast of “Mulan” includes Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Tzi Ma as Zhou, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan, Yoson An as Honghui, and Ron Yuan as Sergeant Qiang — featuring Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The screenplay is by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, based on the spec script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin and inspired by the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.” Producers are Chris Bender, Jake Weiner and Jason Reed, and Bill Kong, Barrie M. Osborne, Tim Coddington and Mario Iscovich serve as executive producers.