NEW YORK -- Disney's live-action film "Mulan" will meet an eagerly awaiting audience on Disney+ in the U.S. and in theaters in markets that have reopened, the company said Tuesday.
"In order to meet the needs of consumers during this unpredictable period, we thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring the exceptional family-friendly film to them in a timely manner," said Bob Chapek, the new CEO of the Walt Disney Company. "Simultaneously, we will be releasing the film theatrically in certain markets where currently we have no announced plan for Disney+ and where theaters are open."
The highly anticipated movie will be available on Disney+ on Sept. 4 for users in most Disney markets such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and western-European markets. The price will be $29.99 for viewers in the U.S. and will vary for users in other countries. In terms of markets where cinemas have reopened, it is likely a reference to China.
"We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience that are currently unable to go to the movie theaters, but also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of a Disney+ subscription with great content," said Chapek.
"Mulan," featuring popular Chinese actress Liu Yifei, has been poised to be a box office success in both Western markets and in China, which was projected to surpass the U.S. in box office in 2020 before the pandemic hit. The release date for this live-action remake of a classic Disney cartoon has been moved several times due to coronavirus concerns.
Disney is looking at online releases of movies at the moment, but not in the long term.
"We're looking at 'Mulan' as a one-off, as opposed to say there's a new business window we're looking at," Chapek said. "That said, we find it very interesting to be able to take a new offering to consumers at that $29.99 price and learn from it, and see what happens not only in terms of the update of number of subscribers that we get on the platform but also the actual number of transactions on Disney+."
Disney, like many other entertainment giants, has been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the pandemic damaged the performance of Disney's theme parks and retail stores with roughly $3.5 billion loss on operating income, it showed unique opportunities for Disney's streaming platforms. Disney+ alone has gathered nearly 60.5 million paid subscribers worldwide as of Monday.
"Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we've continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses," said Chapek. "The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions -- a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company."
Disney will also launch Disney+ and Hotstar, an Indian streaming service collaborating with Disney, in Indonesia on Sept. 5 and continue to expand in India with Hotstar. Chapek said Disney+ will be available in nine of world's the top 10 economies.