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What 'Mulan's' Disney+ Premiere Means For The Film Industry


The Walt Disney Company reported yesterday a loss of $4.7 billion in its third quarter. It also announced a surprise for its streaming service, Disney+. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: In a call to investors, Disney CEO Bob Chapek ticked off some of the challenges the company has faced in the past quarter. Ongoing concerns over COVID-19 closed down Disney theme parks and resorts, retail stores, cruise ships, sporting events and TV and film production around the world. One hundred thousand Disney employees were furloughed.


BOB CHAPEK: The impact of the pandemic on people's lives, our communities, businesses and way of life has been devastating.

DEL BARCO: But Chapek told investors that Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Florida have reopened with safety protocols in place. And he says the new streaming service, Disney+, now has 60.5 million subscribers around the world. And that's the silver lining for Disney, which announced a new movie set to premiere on the platform on September 4.


YIFEI LIU: (As Mulan) Loyal, brave and true - it is my duty to protect my family.

DEL BARCO: Disney's live-action version of "Mulan" is skipping its theatrical release, which had been postponed several times since March. Instead, it will be available on Disney+ for $29.99. "Mulan" and Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" had been seen as bellwethers for when movie theaters could safely reopen, so Disney's announcement comes as a blow to theater owners. During the call, Chapek addressed investors who wondered if this will usher in a new video on demand strategy for movie premieres.


CHAPEK: We're looking at "Mulan" as a one-off as opposed to trying to say that there's some new business windowing model that we're looking at.

DEL BARCO: Still, Chapek says it will be interesting to learn how well "Mulan" does on Disney+. He noted the streaming service's success in its recent showings of the musical "Hamilton" and Beyonce's "Black Is King" production.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.


LEA SALONGA: (Singing) Who is that girl I see staring... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.