Mulan’s Streaming Release Due to Moviegoers’ Concerns About Theaters
Disney’s CFO says the decision to release Mulan on Disney+ rather than in theaters was ultimately down to audiences not wanting to go to the cinema.
Now, according to Deadline, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy has told the Citi 2020 Global Technology Conference that ultimately the decision to release Mulan on Disney+ came about as a result of audiences being reluctant to return to theaters. McCarthy says that statistics showed that families with young kids would be unlikely to watch the film in theaters and that Mulan likely would have only drawn 40% of its intended audience as a best-case scenario. You can read her full comments below:
We know what the statistics are on consumer behavior when people are asked, “Would you go to a theater?” It’s gone up a bit in the last month, but a lot of that has to do with what demographic you’re in. In general, if you look at that research, you’ll generally see that older people are less likely. Probably younger people — the same people who are doing things we see on the news shows that they probably shouldn’t be doing, and crowding and partying — they’re probably more likely to go to a theater. But would a family with young kids go? Probably not.
McCarthy denies that the decision was made to drive up subscriber numbers for Disney+, though she admits it was a “collateral benefit.” How Disney will end up seeing the release is difficult to know. McCarthy is happy with the movie’s performance so far, but the numbers from streaming are far below what they likely would have been had the film released in theaters during non-coronavirus-affected times. A $200 million blockbuster would be expected to clear anywhere between 25% and 50% of its production budget in its debut weekend alone.
However, the $33.5 million the movie made over the Labor Day weekend is impressive for a VOD release and may well convince Disney to release other movies on it’s streaming service while coronavirus affects theaters. There are already reports that Pixar’s Soul will end up skipping theaters and releasing straight to Disney+, while other blockbuster movies like Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984 suffer repeated delays. At this point, it seems like the statisticians made the right choice by releasing Mulan on Disney+.