With things the way they are right now, many movies originally intended for theatrical release have skipped it and moved right to VOD or streaming. Recently, Disney announced the live-action remake of Mulan would also skip theatrical release and head to Disney+, but with a surprise twist of costing an extra $30. Now Candyman and Captain Marvel 2’s Nia DaCosta has responded to this news. Here’s what she had to say:
To her first point, it is frustrating that Mulan isn’t getting its due in the theater. The promising drama at one point was considered a contender to help theaters reopen in the fall and convince theatergoers to come back. It looked to have the sweeping scope and sense of adventure to inspire. But, of course, those hopes are now dashed.
Her second point has been a particularly poignant issue of late. Increasingly we’re seeing a shift victories and losses in the game of who-gets-a-theatrical-release. Many mid-sized comedies have already fled to streaming and VOD in the wake of current events, like The King of Staten Island, The Lovebirds, and Irresistible, making the future of theaters unclear.
Larger films like Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 have so-far escaped the chopping block, being consistently pushed back for a more acceptable release date. But now that Mulan has shifted to a Disney+ only release, it raises questions about how and why these decisions are made.
Of course, it could be simply come down to scheduling, marketing, and competition issues. With so many movies being pushed back and delayed, it has caused something of a ripple effect in scheduling movies in theaters.
Tom Hanks, who wrote Greyhound and was heartbroken that his movie had to skip the theatrical release, spelled this out well for his own film, saying they had the choice between waiting it out and taking their chances by going up against a ton of movies in the future, or just releasing it on Apple+ and let it be seen by a ton of people now.
Everyone has a different take on the ongoing situation. While some directors relent and allow their movies to go to streaming, other directors like Christopher Nolan are fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure it has a theatrical release-- regardless of the box office consequences. It's definitely an unprecedented time.
Either way, it’s yet to be seen if Mulan skipping a theatrical release will end up as a mistake. Arguably, the move could see pushback from audiences and also lose out on box office numbers. On the other hand, fans eager to see a movie of its scope might flock to see it regardless of the Disney+ subscription and additional $30 price, making it a big hit and reaching an even larger audience than if it were in the theaters. Mulan is scheduled to release September 4 on Disney+.