While that's not so surprising in this pandemic-addled market, one analyst believes the move by the entertainment powerhouse offers it a chance to expand its Disney+ streaming platform beyond just being a subscription-based service.
By creating a new level of viewing called Premier Access, Disney is giving anyone who wants to pay $30 the chance to see its $200 million opus, including Disney+ subscribers, who will also have to pay the fee on top of their $7 per month subscription cost.
The difference will be that subscribers will be able to watch Mulan an unlimited number of times as long as they subscribe to Disney+.
Thefly.com says Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne told investors in a note that this novel effort doesn't mean Disney is abandoning theatrical releases of movies (as some have suggested) because it needs theaters to support most of its feature films.
Rather it is a "unique opportunity," he says, to test the platform as something beyond being just a subscription-based VOD service. He also gives Disney credit for an "appetite to take risk, explore new models, and double down" on direct-to-consumer options.
The real test for the media and entertainment stock, however, will be whether the public will consider $30 too expensive and if subscribers will pay for the privilege to watch beyond their streaming service subscription. Mulan will have a theatrical release in countries that do not have access to Disney+.