Before I get to my point, I should make clear, I don’t live in America. So I’ve already seen Disney’s newest remake, Mulan, and I saw it in my local theater (the way it was intended to be seen). Unlike previous remakes, Mulan attempts to tell an almost completely original story, or, better put, one that’s independent from its animated predecessor. That means no Mushu, no musical numbers, new bad guys, and, ultimately, no fun. I respect the attempt, but after seeing the finished film (which feels very much unfinished and in need of a few rewrites), I can say that the new Mulan is rather stale and greatly disappointing. It also comes with a wide range of controversies, which I won’t list here because, if you care, you already know about them. Besides, controversy doesn’t affect my opinion of a film and none of this is why I’m hoping it fails to earn Disney money this season. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the impracticality of movie theaters right now, Disney was forced to get creative. Their plan B was to offer it on their relatively new streaming service (Disney Plus) for a whopping $30. I understand that if you compare it to a family spending an evening at the movie theater, $30 is probably much less than they’d expect to spend. I don’t care. This is a horrible solution threatening to further alienate the movie theater business which is in danger of becoming obsolete. I’m afraid people are getting used to life without movie theaters. I could never. I love the cinema and I don’t want to see this $30 a movie to become the norm. I think studios still rely heavily on box office returns and they don’t necessarily want this either, but that’s simply because movies make more money in theaters. If studios somehow figured out how to make a huge profit through streaming, they would in a heartbeat. Mulan is Disney dipping their toes in the water. I don’t want to give them an ounce of encouragement.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-