A report from Yahoo suggested that a shocking 9 million Disney+ users had streamed the studio’s Mulan remake in its first 12 days of release, translating into a gross of $261 million. Who does A.I. That number could plausibly tick up above $400 million as the fall wears on, which would be a huge win for Warner Bros., given the circumstances. Yet while the actual numbers from Disney’s PVOD release of Mulan via the company’s streaming service remain a mystery, the $30 priced purchase, like the belated theatrical release of the film in China where COVID-19 is still affecting moviegoing, has apparently failed to generate the kind of grosses and pop culture penetration Disney normally expects. In decades past, Hollywood churned out plenty of cheaper movies that relied on word of mouth and could play for months on end, slowly racking up profits. That’s something to keep in mind as Marvel’s Shang Chi continues production. But with Mulan’s domestic theatrical release canceled in favor of a (middling at best) Disney+ PVOD release, and for a film that was seemingly green-lit with the intent of kicking butt in China, yeah, $23.2 million is a disaster. When those numbers are removed, Tenet likely grossed somewhere between $10 million and $12 million during its first real opening weekend in the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily be chasing Chinese box office with any additional fervor. All Rights Reserved. Into this new normal stepped Mulan. During its second weekend at the North American box office, Tenet grossed only an estimated $6.7 million. and Mulan debuted in China with $23.2 million in its opening weekend, with little hope that the film would leg out beyond the often-standard 2x-2.2x multiplier for Hollywood releases. Data gathered this weekend appeared to hold seismic news for Hollywood—specifically Disney. Tenet has had the opposite problem. It appears that Mulan has pulled in more money to date with its U.S. premium Disney+ VOD model (with a price tag of $29.99) than Tenet‘s entire overseas box office haul. Yahoo had misinterpreted numbers from an analytics firm that estimated Mulan’s viewership, and the firm’s co-founder clarified that grosses were more likely $60 million to $90 million—well below the movie’s reported budget of $200 million. In Mulan’s case, the film that was made specifically to appeal to a wider Chinese audience flopped at China’s box office this weekend. This is a remarkable disappointment for Mulan because, unlike the animated 1998 movie, the Niki Caro-directed remake was made with a Chinese audience in mind. The only exception to the rule was Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, a spin-off from the incredibly popular Fast & Furious franchise, which earned $200 million in China last summer. It was one of those doomed “take this non superhero property and make it into a superhero movie” flicks. I have extensively written about all. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. He has long been proud of his geek credentials. Another grand experiment by Hollywood in the COVID-19 era, another flop. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. Even so, the film needs to make far more than $90 million to cover its budget, so the overseas release was crucial. When Aladdin grosses $353 million in North America, it’s less of an issue when it grosses $53 million in China. The notion of big “not a Marvel or DC” tentpoles earning over/under $165 million in China (Pirates 5, Resident Evil 6, xXx 3, Bumblebee, etc.) Box office. © 2020 Fortune Media IP Limited. Lack of interest. Still, neither the Mulan nor the Tenet approach has been entirely successful, and existential concerns about the health of America’s cinemas persist as moviegoers remain skittish about returning to theaters in the middle of a public-health crisis. The simple fact is that no major studio has been nimble enough to get around the pandemic’s biggest obstacles. While Warners’ Tenet didn’t suffer quite as grim a development as U.S. senators suggesting one of their film productions was cozying up to a government committing human rights atrocities, Tenet has still failed to jumpstart theatrical moviegoing in the U.S. in the way director Christopher Nolan intended. Weekend | When coupled with the recent fact a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers have sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek demanding to know just what exactly are Disney’s ties to the local government of the Chinese Xinjiang province—an area of the country where the Chinese government has been detaining Uighurs and other Muslims in what is recognized by the international community as human rights crimes, including the U.S.—it creates a cloud of disappointment and increasing controversy around the movie.
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