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The long-awaited live-action version of Mulan is set to release on Disney+, which sounds like a great deal. But your subscription isn’t enough to watch the film—you have to pay $30 extra to tune in before anyone else.
While some subscribers think this is a fair offer, others are understandably outraged. Why is Disney charging its subscribers extra for a new release, and will this trend continue?
Disney+’s $30 Mulan Offer
The release of the live-action Mulan is exciting for a couple of reasons. For one, this Mulan is a more serious, mature take on the original film (which is why it’s rated PG-13). The fact that we get to revisit the story of Mulan also makes this release highly-anticipated.
Disney decided to ditch the movie theaters and instead plans to release the live-action Mulan exclusively on Disney+. Subscribers who pay $30 to watch Mulan on Disney+ will get Premier Access to the film.
Those with Premier Access can watch Mulan as soon as it comes out, and they also get to keep the film as long as they’re subscribed to Disney+. Although Mulan will eventually debut on Disney+ for all subscribers, there’s still no word on when that will happen.
Disney also claims that premiering a brand new film on Disney+ will be a one-time thing. However, if the at-home debut is successful, there’s a chance that Disney might change its plans for future films.
Why Additional Charges Are a Bad Sign for Streaming
Streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ are substitutes for cable TV and movie theaters. With the monthly subscription fee, we expect to have access to all of the movies and TV shows on each platform, without having to foot cable bills or pay for movie theater tickets.
Disney has crossed the line by tacking on such a pricey additional fee for a new film. It’s understandable to settle for a home release of a movie in the midst of a pandemic, but that’s no reason to punish subscribers. Disney+’s monthly subscription price alone should be enough to line Disney’s pockets, so it’s clear that a $30 fee for Mulan is just another money grab.
If Mulan hit the theaters, you’d pay only about $10 for a ticket. While you obviously wouldn’t be able to take the film home with you, it’s still much cheaper than paying $30 for Premier Access. That said, Disney should lower the price of the debut—after all, what’s the point of paying $30 if all Disney+ subscribers will eventually get access to it anyway?
Will Other Services Follow in Disney’s Footsteps?
Unfortunately, Disney has opened the door for other streaming services to mimic its moneymaking tactics. If Disney brings in enough cash from Mulan, other streaming services are bound to take advantage of its subscribers as well.
To make matters worse, many movie theaters are still closed, or have a very limited capacity. Movie theaters are fighting against two currents: the pandemic and the rise of streaming services. While it’s worrying enough that people already get on-demand access to an array of movies, it’s even scarier that movies are now premiering on streaming services as well.
Disney’s move to charge people for the debut of Mulan isn’t just a concern for subscribers, but it’s also a threat to the future of movie theaters. Streaming service subscribers might frequently end up paying more than just their monthly fee, and movie theaters could wind up out of business.
In the end, Mulan is sure to attract a lot of new subscribers to Disney+. If you’re considering getting Premier Access to Mulan, or just want to wait it out until it becomes free, you should check out these great Disney+ movies that adults can watch too.