Look, I love Mulan. If we’re talking the first renaissance of Disney animation that began with The Little Mermaid and ended with Lilo and Stitch, then the original Mulan, which came out in 1998, is one of my favorite movies of that period. I was even looking forward to the live-action version of it—with trepidation, of course. But am I $30, on top of my Disney+ subscription, looking forward to seeing it? Eh, not really. In fact, I’m definitely not going to pay $30 to watch Mulan at home. But, Black Widow on the other hand…
And while there is no word that Black Widow is coming to Disney+ at a premium fee, I’m pretty sure that that would have been the better movie to try this experiment with. Because while I understand why Disney is doing this (Mulan cost a lot of money after all, and Disney’s been suffering just like everybody else due to Covid-19), I just don’t think that Mulan is the right movie to try it with, but Black Widow is - and I have five reasons why.
FOMO Is Very Real For Marvel Fans
First off, as a Marvel fan speaking for other Marvel fans, I can say with certainty that I am starving for the next Marvel movie. I mean, hello, the last MCU film was Spider-Man: Far From Home, and that movie came out OVER A YEAR AGO. If Disney+ said that a ticket to Black Widow would cost $30 just because, I would take out my wallet and say, “One ticket to Black Widow, please.”
And do you know why? Because if I don’t see it opening weekend, then I can pretty much say goodbye to the internet for the next few months, because I don’t want anybody spoiling it for me. It may sound silly to some, but if you’re a Marvel fan (and a lot of people are if Endgame’s box office is any indication) then you understand what I mean. Fear of missing out is very real for us, and I will gladly pay $30 to watch Black Widow at home. And I wouldn’t be alone.
Tying Black Widow To A New Marvel TV Show Could Make Sure That New Subscribers Stick Around
You can’t watch Mulan without already having a Disney+ subscription. But do you really see people who don’t already have a subscription getting one just to pay an extra $30 on top of that to watch Mulan? Uh, no, that’s not happening. But I’m sure there are plenty of diehard Marvel fans out there who haven’t already jumped onboard the Disney+ hype train who would do so just to watch Black Widow.
And peep this. What if the next MCU film was coming exclusively to Disney+, and then, not only that, but it was coming out one week before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? I mean, are you kidding me? Marvel fans would lose their Thor Odinson minds if that happened. Buying into a subscription service and then dropping it once you’re done watching the thing you wanted to watch is common. But no Marvel fan would drop Disney+ if a show they were already looking forward to was coming in the next week. Not on your life.
The Buzz For Mulan Is Big, But Not Black Widow Big
And then, there’s the issue of the buzz for Mulan not even really being that big, relatively speaking. At least not when you compare it to the scope of something in the MCU or Star Wars. What Disney is doing right now with Mulan is a gamble. Because if people buy into paying extra on top of their subscription fees for Mulan, then Disney will probably try it again with a whole bunch of other movies. So I’m sure they’ll be watching Mulan very closely. Especially in other markets. But why even gamble when they could have had a surefire hit with Black Widow?
It seems weird to say this, but with Mulan, you kind of have a splintered audience. On one hand, you have the people who love the original movie (like myself) who might be curious about what this live-action movie will be like. But are we curious enough to pay $30 to see it? Then, you have the people who have never seen the original Mulan (even though you can watch it on Disney+) who might have been interested in how this new one looks, but there’s no guarantee that those people would have gone out to see this movie, either. So just all around, I don’t think Mulan is the movie that Disney should be trying this new experiment on.
Mulan Is Not Trolls: World Tour
Some people might want to compare Mulan to Trolls: World Tour, which was also supposed to come out in theaters, but instead when straight to VOD and made a buttload of money in the process. But Mulan is not Trolls: World Tour, so you really can’t compare the two.
For one thing, Trolls: World Tour was a sequel that many people (notably kids) were waiting for for a long time, while Mulan is a live-action remake. Big difference! Also, Mulan is PG-13, which already limits its audience to a certain extent. And then, you have the fact that a lot of the live-action Disney remakes haven’t really been all that great, so there really isn’t much of an incentive to have to see this one, unfortunately. If anything, Black Widow is more like a sequel (or, like a prequel, rather), since all of the MCU movies are interconnected. So that's another reason why it would be a better pick for this new experiment than Mulan.
It's Likely Mulan Will Eventually Be Free On Disney+ At Some Point, So Why Pay For It Now?
Out of all the reasons why Black Widow would be a better pick than Mulan for this experiment, this is probably the biggest one. Remember what I said earlier about FOMO concerning the MCU? Well, I’m sorry, Mulan fans, but there is no FOMO (or at least, very little) for Mulan. Because while it’s really cool that Disney is making it so that you technically “own” Mulan if you pay $30 for it as long as you keep your Disney+ subscription, it seems highly likely that Mulan will eventually come to Disney+ for free at some point, right? Whether it’s 6 months from its release date or a year, if you have Disney+, you will probably see the live-action Mulan for free eventually, so why pay for it now?
There is no post-credit scene in Mulan that leads into the next movie (what next movie?). There are no raging debates online about what’s the best live-action Disney remake (and anyway, it’s The Jungle Book). The fact is, and I hate to admit this, but who is seriously pumped for the live-action Mulan? Mulan is awesome, and I like it a lot more than Beauty and the Beast, but Mulan doesn’t have the same fanbase that Beauty and the Beast has, so you really can’t expect similar results as that live-action hit.
But what do you think? Am I wrong? Is there actually a rabid Mulan fan base that I don’t know about that is going to make this experiment work? Sound off in the comments section below.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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