Disney sets a date for Mulan’s non-premium streaming debut

If you really wanted to see the new live-action Mulan, but didn’t want to pay $30 premium to see it early this fall, there’s good news. Disney has now revealed when the film will be available to Disney+ subscribers at no additional cost.

The film’s page on Disney+ was recently updated, saying “Watch with Premier Access for $29.99 before its release to all Disney+ subscribers on December 4, 2020.” So there you go, you can watch it without the premium price tag at the beginning of December. According to a Disney+ support page, Premier Access for the film will be available until November 2. Part of me wonders if Disney might try to sneak in a theatrical run during that gap month between Premier Access and the regular Disney+ debut, but that’s probably not likely.

It’s nice to have a date on the streaming debut of the film for those who don’t have $30 to spare — not that I’d blame anyone for choosing to spend that much. Mulan (the original animated movie, I mean) was a pivotal part of so many of our childhoods that I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to revisit the story, albeit in a new form. Heck, $30 is probably less than I’d have paid total to see it in the theater (I like to get lots of snacks). And also, given the state of the world, any new movie might be something worth shelling out a little extra for, even if we don’t get the theatrical experience.

Given this new information — that the film will only be premium exclusive for two months and will be available to everyone on the streaming service in three — I’d be curious to see how many people do pay the toll to see it right after it’s first released. This represents an important experiment for Disney: it’s already tried the method of releasing a film directly to streaming with no fanfare with Onward and Artemis Fowl and the reception for both was decidedly muted.

I’d hazard a guess that Mulan is the lamb Disney’s sacrificing to see if anyone will pay extra for early access to the movie. So far we’ve seen no indication that they’ll do this with any other movies, but the pandemic’s not over yet. It could be that we’ll see the House of Mouse revisit this data if there’s another round of theater closures.

We’ve already seen a cluster of critics refuse to review both Tenet and New Mutants, the two latest theatrically released films, because it’s just not worth the risk to see a movie in the standard theatrical format in the age of COVID. So if this succeeds, and we’re still stuck in this nightmare when Black Widow or whatever comes out, I would not be at all surprised if Disney decides Premier Access is the way to go.

Just as a reminder, Mulan will be available to watch on Disney+ Premier Access on September 4.