‘Mulan’ still on track for July theatrical release

Liu Yifei as Mulan for Niki Caro’s 2020 Disney movie. (Disney pic)

BURBANK: Disney’s live-action retelling of legendary warrior “Mulan” is targeting a July 24 date, the company’s CEO Bob Chapek reconfirmed.

As we’ve seen with “Onward,” streaming network Disney+ could prove a well-positioned backup option.

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.