Media giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) 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.
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."
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.