Here we go: Disney releasing MULAN on VOD for $30.

[UPDATE]: via @brett_lemons comes the news that Disney will make it available for download for thirty bucks, which is a much better deal (if one I still wouldn’t take, because if I don’t have the physical item then I haven’t really bought it, and that should be worth a discount). Whether or not this was originally reported incorrectly is a conclusion I shall leave up to my readers.

Otherwise known as ‘ten bucks more than I’d seriously consider:’ “In a move surprising everyone except those of us who’ve been telling you it was coming for months, Disney announced today that their 2020 live action adaptation of Mulan will hit Disney+ on September 4th in a new category of content described as “premium service,” through which subscribers can view Mulan through the streaming site’s new VOD option. This will be simultaneous with limited international theatrical distribution.”

…Whether this works or not is gonna be interesting. Thirty bucks for MULAN live-action is more than I’d pay; heck, it’s more than I’d pay for BLACK WIDOW. At that price point, I’ll just buy the DVD and watch it on my computer screen. And I really, really want to see the spreadsheet that proves this is the minimum price Disney needs to make their investment back on their movies*.

Moe Lane

PS: $12.99. Which they’d never, ever do, I know. But still.

*I recognize that bandwidth and stable servers cost money. Still.

8 thoughts on “Here we go: Disney releasing MULAN on VOD for $30.”

  1. I’m pretty sure that the words “China”, “data collection”, “social credit”, and “foreign influence” were considerations in the setting of that particular price point.

  2. Tangential point, but relevant –

    The local library system limits users to THREE ebooks a month under electronic borrowing, despite the fact that hard copy books are permitted up to 50. This limit was not removed or altered at any time during the last 4 months of the library system being closed.
    Such idiocy caused my to search my SOUL, SEEKing a resource to provide what the government no longer did.
    Overpricing movies with no alternative distribution will probably result in similar reflection.

  3. From a consumer perspective, I actually don’t think that Mulan is overpriced at $30. Even for a one-time rental, that would be reasonable.
    Consider: Disney cannot control your home in the same way they can count on AMC or Regal to control their theater. If you’re a “typical” family of four, $30 is actually slightly less than what you would pay in the theater, even for a matinee showing. If you live next door to another family, all eight of you (or any fraction thereof) can watch it at one of your homes for the same purchase price. Disney can’t stop you from doing that, and they know it…so they’re going to make you pay for it.
    Now, factor in the advantages. You can set your own viewing schedule, instead of having to work your day around the movie.
    You can have whatever snacks you want, for a far lower price than you could get them in the theater. (So even at $30, most families would actually be spending LESS money because of concessions alone.) If any person gets bored, they can get up and walk away — not as easy in a family outing situation. Oh, and if little Mikey has a bathroom emergency, YOU CAN PAUSE THE MOVIE and take care of it. No worrying about wasted money.
    So I think families are going to love this deal. And Disney also benefits. They do not have to share any box office revenues with the theaters…they get 100% of the purchase price.* And they get some cash coming in at a time when — with box offices closed nationwide, theme park attendance way down, and no new entertainment being filmed — they are starved for revenue and stuck with significant fixed costs. Now, they may not make as much this way. But it will solve some of their problem. And if it works with Mulan, it will work with Black Widow, and whatever other blockbusters they have in the can.
    No, there are only two groups of people who should be upset by this. The first group is individual moviegoers, who might have bought a single ticket at their local theater but who will feel completely priced out of the market by a $30 tag — even if that means they will have purchased the movie. The second group is the theaters themselves, who are also starved for revenue. They can’t afford to let even one big blockbuster like this slip away. And since what makes or breaks most theaters is concession sales, and since their concessions revenue from Mulan will now be approximately $0 nationwide…well, all I can say is, it was already a bad time to work for a multiplex, and it just got worse.
    [* In that respect, I actually think it’s downright diabolical for Disney to say that people can BUY Mulan for $30, rather than merely rent it. It increases the likelihood that each individual household will buy it, instead of pooling their resources for a single viewing like I suggested above. After all, if you liked it, you might well have bought it anyway…and $30 is FAR less than what a family would pay for movie tickets, plus concessions, plus the DVD or Blu-Ray. So for most families, that will make it a better deal. And that will only INCREASE sales for Disney.]

    1. Step away from the crack pipe.
      If you have to rationalize something being a good deal, it isn’t a good deal.
      $30 for a family isn’t bad because everybody can chip in?
      That isn’t how families with small kids tend to work.
      Not to mention that’s 3 months of Hulu, 3 cases of beer, 4 books, 6 classic movies on physical medium, etc. that you’d be giving up in opportunity cost.
      Heck, for most people meeting an hourly wage, we’re talking about a good three hours of work being traded for a remake of a movie they’ve already seen. (And judging by the past live action remakes, a clearly inferior version.)
      Maybe they could depend on milking a rabid fanbase, but Bronies are much more common than people feeling out about Mulan.

      1. Yeah.

        Here’s a less egregious example: Amazon Prime wanted $20 to *rent* Onward. I think you had 30 days to start, and then 48 hours to finish it once you started it?

        Get rekt, Amazon. I waited a month–probably less–and paid $1.80 at Redbox.

        1. Amazon Prime didn’t set that price point. Disney did. And they did it to recoup some of their investment.
          Onward had a budget that, according to Wikipedia, was in the range of $175-200 million. But its theatrical run was less than two full weeks, because COVID. Its final box office total was around $110 million, and Disney probably saw just north of half of that for its share. So even assuming the publicly-reported budget isn’t understated, which is probably is, that still leaves Disney over $100 million in the hole. Of course they set a high price point. I may not like it, but I understand it.
          Now, your response — to wait for the cheaper Redbox option — was a smart one. (Though it took two months for Onward to go from VOD to Redbox.) But you don’t know that these are analogous cases. With Onward, Disney was trying to get as much money as they could from a movie that had already been released…basically, cutting their losses. Mulan hasn’t even been released yet.
          My guess is, especially if Disney’s $30 price tag includes unlimited access to the movie, that Mulan won’t be available on disc (and so won’t be available on Redbox) for quite a few months at least. They’ll want to get as much money out of it as they can. And if Mulan makes a killing, or even beats their expectations, you can expect them to do the same with Black Widow.

      2. “If you have to rationalize something being a good deal, it isn’t a good deal.”
        This isn’t rationalizing. This is reasoning.
        “$30 for a family isn’t bad because everybody can chip in? That isn’t how families with small kids tend to work.”
        Quite true. And if that were what I had said, maybe I would deserve your dripping contempt. But when I was talking about “pooling resources,” I was clearly talking about HOUSEHOLDS, not individual family members. One family buys the movie, the other reimburses them half the cost, and then they watch it together. If the two families together number five people or more, they’re saving money this way. Some people will do it. Disney knows that. Hence, the higher price.
        “Not to mention that’s 3 months of Hulu, 3 cases of beer, 4 books, 6 classic movies on physical medium, etc. that you’d be giving up in opportunity cost.”
        This is, indeed, a good argument against paying for Mulan on Disney+. This is also a good argument against a family outing to the movies in the first place…which is actually more expensive and less convenient, when you factor everything in. Yet people still do it. They’ll do this too.
        Also, if you are paying $10 for a CASE of beer — which is the equivalent of four six-packs — then I don’t want to know what cheap swill you’re drinking. But it explains your post.

        1. All right, folks. It’s too nice a morning to be fighting over Disney price points. Admittedly, that would be true if an asteroid had just smacked into the Indian Ocean, but still.

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