For most of the world, "Mulan" was released on streaming service Disney Plus, but there was a big movie release in China – but now with very sobering first numbers for the Mouse House.
"Mulan" was expected to be a big billion-dollar success for Disney - then came Corona and the decision to give the real-life film to the in-house streaming service Disney+ for a premium price - but not everywhere.
In markets where there is no Disney+ yet, "Mulan" is in cinemas – and started very neatly in smaller countries, where this was done in parallel or even just before Disney+Start. But with the strategy, Disney naturally aimed at big revenues in China, now at least the second most important market in the world, to which "Mulan" is also tailored: based on a famous Chinese history, occupied with local stars and some landscape shots even shot in China.
But now there was the great disillusionment.
WEAK START FOR SEVERAL REASONS
Only about 8.3 million dollars were collected in China on the start day. For the entire weekend, including previews, it is expected to be 26 million dollars, with initial calculations for the entire season being less than 50 million dollars in the Middle Kingdom. This would be a disaster – after the project originally met with a huge interest in China.
The main reason cited by analysts is that the Chinese government is allegedly trying to suppress coverage of the film, which has led to a collapse in public perception. It is alleged that Chinese authorities, local newspapers, and film sites, etc. even "recommended" not to report on the film at all.
The reason for this is indirect the shooting in Xinjiang, and thus in a region where, according to the United Nations, one million people have been detained in mass detention camps reminiscent of the camps because of origin and/or religion. Above all, it is a question of thanking the local authorities for their support in the credits. If this first gave Disney a shitstorm of China critics, China itself now apparently wants to keep the film small in order to prevent a discussion on the Xinjiang topic, because one tries, again and again, to keep this topic as completely out of the public eye as possible.
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This controversy is certainly a crucial factor, but the truth may be more complex – and there is more than one reason. For example, the launch on Disney+ may have helped to spoil the box office result. Because the film was already on the streaming platform well before the Chinese cinema release, illegal copies quickly circulated inappropriate quality.
And especially in China, these still play a very important role, are still to be acquired on the street. And so it is obvious that many Chinese who wanted "Mulan" has already watched the film in advance.
The fact that "Mulan" performs significantly worse on Chinese rating sites than in other countries and as other Disney films, on the other hand, is probably less weighted, because it is not yet suitable as an indication that many Chinese simply like "Mulan" worse since so-called review-bombing probably plays a role here due to the aforementioned.