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Disney's live action remakes have a strong track record at the box office. Four of them have crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, and a fifth, The Jungle Book, came up just short of that mark. After a 2019 where the studio released several of those remakes, including two of those $1 billion hits, Disney only has one remake set to hit the screen in 2020. However, based on the current opening weekend projections, Mulan might pick up right where The Lion King left off as it's posed to have the biggest openeing weekend of the year so far.
According to early tracking from THR, Mulan is looking to have an opening weekend around $85 million. That would blow away the current 2020 opening weekend record holder, Bad Boys for Life which currently sits at $62.5 million. That will put Mulan in a strong fifth place among Disney's opening weekends for live-action remakes, though some analysts believe Mulan could exceed the $85 million number and actually out do Aladdin's $91 million opening. Although, $85 million would still be less than half the opening of Disney's top remakes, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
The news that Mulan will likely be one of Disney's top live-action remakes is great news, especially because the films that have done the best at the domestic box office to date have been the ones that changed the least from their animated counterparts. While Mulan's central story will remain intact, the live-action version won't be a musical, and it won't include several of the animated films' sidekick characters. Entire new characters are being added and others are being drastically changed. Generally, the movies that strayed furthest from the animated version have suffered at the box office.
While it looks like Mulan is in for a solid run domestically, the movie might still fail to capture the global box office, though through no fault of its own. With the problems stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, especially in China, Mulan may not even be released on schedule in some nations.
Obviously, Disney is expecting big things in China from the new Mulan, many of the changes from the animated version were specifically made to help the film appeal more to a traditional Chinese audience, but if movie theaters remain closed, the film will see a delayed release at best and will almost certainly see a lower box office return if and when it is released.
For a movie with a projected $200 million budget, every dollar is going to count and the domestic box office likely isn't going to be enough to make Mulan a success all by itself, even if it does as well or better than most other Disney remakes.
Mulan hits theaters March 27.