Chinese epic Mulan remains Disney’s next movie of the coronavirus era, with the company sticking to a July 24 date decided upon mid-March.
Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeeper’s Wife) and starring Liu Yifei (The Four trilogy), Donnie Yen (Rogue One – A Star Wars Story) and Jason Scott Lee (1994’s Jungle Book), the film is based on a Chinese legend and is a remake of Disney’s 1998 animated movie of the same name.
CEO Bob Chapek, a nearly three-decade veteran of the company and chief executive since April 2020, said that he thought Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming slate faced both a “stair-step situation” as well as “a lot of pent-up demand” due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
He told CNBC that the company was preparing to recommence theatrical distribution and reopen Disney Parks and Resorts locations “as long as we can do so in a safe, relatively safe, responsible way”.
Theatrical releases remain a foundational element for Disney, Chapek continued, emphasising that they are a “viable and important way to premiere films”.
However, with June’s adaptation of young adult fantasy adventure Artemis Fowl debuting directly on streaming service Disney+ — and March’s Onward arriving on the subscription VOD platform just two weeks after its release in cinemas — Chapek remarked that the company was flexible and willing to look at its schedule on a film-by-film basis.
Since debuting in November 2019, Disney+ has accumulated 54.5 million subscribers, approaching half that of Netflix’s 128m membership base.