‘Mulan’ PVOD Results: Disney CEO Bob Chapek “Pleased”, But Stays Mum On Numbers

Anthony D'Alessandro
·2 min read

If you’re dying to know what the total revenue reap was from Disney’s combined PVOD/Disney+/overseas theatrical release experiment of Mulan, well, we just have to wait for the studio’s investor day on December 10. That’s when they’re reportedly going to tell us more.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on Thursday’s Q4 and year-end earning call that he was “pleased with the results of Mulan as a premiere access title,” which repped the studio’s foray in providing an extra tier PVOD access to Disney+ subscribers to a premium title, this one originally intended for a worldwide theatrical release. Disney sold Mulan at an extra $29.99 to Disney+ members where the streaming service was available in markets (i.e., U.S., the UK). The pic was released theatrically abroad in those markets where cinemas were fully opened, i.e., Asia, with Mulan seeing $66.8 million, a majority of that figure from China.

Industry buzz has been that the Mulan experiment, at least on the streaming side, was not a success, given how quiet the studio has been about reporting revenue and viewership figures. Other factors causing doubt about Mulan: Disney was quick to announce the film’s December 4 free availability to Disney+ subs, days before its September 4 PVOD release. Why do that? Another indication Mulan wasn’t an immediate success was how soon it was fast-tracked to regular PVOD (outside Disney+). Oh, and let’s not forget that Disney is making another theatrical release, Pixar’s Soul, available for free on December 25. If Mulan went so well, again, why do that?

“Unfortunately the title was met with controversy in the U.S. and internationally,” Chapek said today about Mulan, “but we saw positive results to know that that we had something in the premiere access strategy.”

In regards to making Soul available for free on Disney+ and not implementing a PVOD-Disney+ premiere strategy on that title, the CEO said, “In terms of Soul, we also realize that the lifeblood of Disney+ is providing content to base level subscribers. The idea was that it was a really nice gesture to take it out during the holiday period and provide it on the service.”

All of this said, it’s plausible Mulan may have contributed to a spike in Disney+ subs, though Chapek didn’t specify that today. Disney+ reported 73.7 million subscribers as of September 30, up from 60.5 million subs in August.

Separately, outside of Disney, Nielsen reported earlier this fall that Mulan made its top 10 streaming list for the week of August 31-September 6 in the No. 10 spot with 525 million minutes viewed. By comparison, Netflix’s Cobra Kai was No. 1 that week with 2.17 billion minutes viewed.

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