In another major blow to movie theaters, Disney announced at its shareholder meeting today that “Mulan” will forgo its planned theatrical release. Instead, the movie will premiere on Disney+ on Sept. 4 for a rental price of $29.99.

In countries where Disney+ is not available, “Mulan” will be released in theatres on the same date.

“We are announcing today that, in most Disney+ markets – including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of countries in Western Europe – we will be offering Disney+ subscribers the epic adventure “Mulan” on Disney+ on a Premier Access basis beginning September 4,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek.

Carving A Path For Future Films

Chapek says the Walt Disney Company is going to learn from “Mulan” in regards to future tentpoles going directly to Disney+ premium. At the moment, the film being distributed via the streamer is a one-off. However, if “Mulan” is a hit under the business model, we could see films like “Soul” and “Black Widow” not be being delayed theatrically and instead make their way to Disney+ premium.

On July 23, Disney took “Mulan” off the calendar indefinitely from its previous release date of Aug. 21 as Warner Bros. was pausing their release plans for “Tenet.”

Testing the Waters of Disney+ Premium

Chapek stated during a round of questioning with financial analysts, “We’re pleased to bring “Mulan” to a consumer base that’s been waiting for it as we’ve had to move our release dates several times. We’re looking at “Mulan” as a one-off as opposed to saying there’s a new business windowing model.”

In regard to pricing the film at $29.99, Chapek added, “As you know, it’s fairly expensive to produce for consumers the quality we’re known for. Rather than simply rolling “Mulan” into a free offering, we thought we can test anything when you have your own platform. We’re trying to establish a new premiere access window to capture that investment we put in the film.”

Based on the Chinese folklore “The Ballad of Mulan,” “Mulan” is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated feature of the same name. Directed by Niki Caro, the film stars Liu Yifei in the title role of Mulan, alongside Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, and Jet Li in supporting roles. It is the only tentpole of 2020 to feature an entirely Asian cast.