Reportedly, Mulan has made more money on Disney+ than Tenet has in theaters. At the start of this year, Mulan was expected to be one of the biggest movies of 2020 as the latest in Disney's long line of live-action remakes. Based on both the original Chinese legend and the 1998 animated film of the same name, Mulan tells the iconic story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father's place in the army. Mulan was already somewhat controversial due to its removal of the animated movie's songs and characters like Mushu and Shang, but over the past few weeks, things have become decidedly more complicated for Disney's martial arts epic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney was forced to delay Mulan from its March 2020 release date. The plan was to have Mulan open in July, then August, but when the situation didn't improve, Disney came up with a new strategy. Mulan was sent directly to Disney+ in a rather shocking move; subscribers have the option to pay $29.99 to purchase the film, while countries without access to Disney+ will get Mulan in theaters. Like with all PVOD releases, it's hard to say exactly how successful Mulan has been, but new reports certainly suggest positive figures.
According to Yahoo! Finance, analytics firm 7Park Data has determined nearly 29% of US households with a Disney+ subscription bought Mulan through September 12. This is based on Disney's most recent earnings report, which claimed the streaming service has over 60 million global subscribers. 7Park assumed US households make up 50% of that, meaning 9 million subscribers bought the film. By that count, Mulan would have earned $261 million domestically. For comparison's sake, Tenet crossed $207 million worldwide in its last update, which puts Mulan firmly ahead of it.
Again, it's hard to determine exactly how well Mulan has performed without concrete numbers from Disney. Still, even if Mulan made a little over or a little under $261 million within its first week in the United States, that would likely be viewed as a positive outcome. Previous reports claimed Mulan earned $33.5 million over its opening weekend and led to a 68% spike in Disney+ downloads.
Based on these various reports, it certainly seems like Mulan is weathering its various controversies. The film and Disney came under fire when it became apparent that parts of the project were shot in China's Xinjiang region, which is the site of internment camps for Uyghar Muslims. Disney's CFO Christine McCarthy acknowledged this caused the studio issues, but Mulan's initial numbers still seem fairly positive. As for whether it will be seen as a success in the long run, it's harder to tell. Without Disney's official figures, we may never get the full picture on Mulan's performance.