As we see the country slowly starts to reopen in hopes to get back to some semblance of normalcy, a big question mark remains. When will major theaters begin to reopen?
Disney is hoping to have one of the first blockbusters of the summer kickstart theatergoing with its live-action adaptation of Mulan. While the studio is sticking with its July 24 release, one analyst predicts that if theaters aren’t ready, the highly-anticipated film may not get a new release.
Analyst Michael Nathanson of the firm MoffettNathanson said on an investors’ conference call on Friday, that if Mulan can gross even half of the usual $1 billion Disney’s pre-pandemic spate of blockbusters usually made “it will be a freakin’ home run.”
Nathan is typically pretty optimistic when it comes to the Walt Disney Company, but isn’t confident regarding the company’s shares due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its major financial impact throughout all their entities.
Nathanson believes if Disney plans to keep the July release, the studio would have to quickly un-furlough a lot of their marketing and distribution employees. If the studio decides to change course, Disney will have to once again move the film to a new release date or, as Nathanson is predicting Disney, would move the film to a digital release.
Nathanson believes that moving Mulan to VOD, then an early Disney+ release could be beneficial to Disney in the long run, as it could be “a bit of a boost” to Disney+, as well as their stock. “If they do kill Mulan, that could help the narrative. In a perverse way, that could be better for Disney stock in the long run than having Mulan go to theaters.”
I believe that Disney will stick to a theatrical release no matter what. Once again, Disney+ would need 125 million+ subscribers to see Mulan make a profit. The studio is also banking on the huge Asian movie market to lift the film to success. You can read more about my thoughts in the story linked above.
Disney moved Artemis Fowl (premieres June 12) to Disney+ a couple of months ago, and the studio has already stated that they are keeping the doors open for additional theatrical films to make the move as well. I would guess that Disney moves The One and Only Ivan to streaming… not Mulan.
Lastly, I want to point out that these are just predictions from an analyst, I reached out to a Disney rep recently, and they let me know they plan to keep a theatrical release for Mulan.