After postponing the Mulan reboot indefinitely, Disney has officially moved what was intended to be a late March blockbuster onto Disney+ as a premium ($29.99) VOD rental offering on September 4. Even though the movie will also theatrically debut in select countries like China, as one might imagine, most theater owners are not thrilled by the decision, and a French cinema owner recorded a video to make his perspective clear.
— Destination Ciné (@destinationcine) August 6, 2020
Tensions are certainly high after months of shuttered doors on multiplexes, and following the Mulan announcement, CNBC quoted Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst, as saying, “Every exhibitor I have contact with feels like this is a sucker punch to the gut…” And Deadline’s Tom Grater tracked down this cinema owner, Gerard Lemoine, who runs an indie joint, Cinepal in Palaiseau, south of Paris. He at least seemed pleased with his burgeoning viral notoriety (at over 600,000 views and counting):
“My video exceeds my expectations a little… By losing Mulan, we lost the possibility of offering our audiences a long-awaited film that would have helped us after these past hard weeks. It is also a bad message to send to the public [who had been expecting a theatrical release].”
Lemoine further explained how disheartening it has felt to lose the release after helping to promote Mulan for months, to no avail. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is still planning on rolling out Tenet globally, including in some U.S. markets, beginning in a few short weeks, so Lemoine’s fingers are undoubtedly crossed on that front.
It’s worth nothing that CEO Bob Chepak classified Disney’s decision as a “one-off” and in no way a predictor of how the studio will handle streaming and theatrical windows in the future, with any other individual movie or beyond the pandemic. As of now, Black Widow‘s still scheduled for a November release in theaters.