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Disney Will Release Live-Action Mulan Straight to Disney+

By Anders Bylund – Aug 4, 2020 at 11:10PM

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The highly anticipated title will hit Disney's streaming service on Sept. 4, carrying a $29.99 premium access fee.

Media giant Walt Disney (DIS -2.73%) is taking the live-action Mulan remake in a new direction. After delaying the release three times in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has now decided to premiere Mulan on the Disney+ video-streaming platform instead -- with a twist.

What's new?

Speaking on Disney's third-quarter earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek explained the company's new plan to release Mulan through Disney+ on Sept. 4.

"In order to meet the needs of consumers during this unpredictable period, we thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family-friendly film to them in a timely manner," Chapek said. "We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters, while also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of a Disney+ subscription with this great content."

A snapshot from the live-action Mulan movie showing a peaceful Chinese garden.

Image source: Walt Disney.

Disney is testing this release as a premier access title, so it will cost $29.99 in the U.S. on top of the ordinary Disney+ subscription fees. This model is similar to pay-per-view titles in traditional cable TV systems, but Chapek didn't clarify whether this payment leads to a permanent access license or a time-limited viewing window.

"We thought we would give it a try to establish a new premier access window to try to recapture some of that investment that we've got," Chapek said.

He also made it clear that this launch strategy is a unique solution for Mulan and not a model for future titles to follow. With a production budget reportedly in the neighborhood of $300 million, Disney hopes to learn some lessons from the Mulan experiment and perhaps find a good balance between Disney+ subscription fees and add-on charges for premium content.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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