Niki Caro’s live-action adaptation of the classic 1998 animated movie Mulan has been pushed back nearly a month, as U.S. theaters struggle to reopen.
After filming for just shy of two years now, Disney’s upcoming Mulan movie was all set for its big opening this July 25. Unfortunately, the Chinese epic was officially delayed, with cinemas in the United States struggling to find an appropriate time to reopen due to the recent surge in COVID-19 incidents.
According to the online publication Deadline, the film’s new release date is on August 21, following Christopher Nolan’s upcoming spy thriller Tenet.
Disney delays 'Mulan' theatrical release to late August amid COVID-19 concerns. pic.twitter.com/zp11POjIfM
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) June 26, 2020
Walt Disney Studios’ statement
In a joint statement, Walt Disney Studios co-chairman Alan Horn and Chief Executive Officer Alan Bergman explained how the studio fully intends to adjust its plans based on how the coronavirus pandemic unfolds.
Bergman and Horn did a good job selling Mulan, praising its cast and describing the upcoming film as a “beautiful, epic, and moving” cinematic experience that deserves nothing less than to be enjoyed on the silver screen worldwide.
Their full statement reads:
“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for ‘Mulan’ and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance. Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs–on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for #Mulan & we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope & perseverance.” https://t.co/55KYvn13IS
— Captain Cristobal (@CRS_One) June 26, 2020
The troubled development of Mulan
Plans for a live-action Mulan rendition go as far back as 2010, though the project was never able to pick up steam. The idea was successfully pitched again five years later, with Niki Caro joining the film as its director in February 2017.
After going through almost 1000 female leads, the titular role was finally given to Liu Yifei, with the supporting cast coming on board throughout the succeeding year.
Mulan‘s woes were far from over, however, as the COVID-19 pandemic made production more difficult and threatened to take away the film’s largest market outside of the United States—China.
The coronavirus wasn’t the only looming threat to the movie’s success. Mulan recently came under fire from the #BoycottMulan movement, brought about by the ill-timed comments of lead actress Liu Yifei.
— 𝙃𝙖𝙣𝙣 🏹✨ #HOWYOULIKETHAT (@BlinkSoneOrbit) June 27, 2020
Last year, the actress took to the Chinese social media platform Weibo in support of Hong Kong police at the height of the Hong Kong protests, drawing the ire of protestors and their supporters worldwide.
“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” said Liu.
Hey everyone! Mulan is trending because they changed the release date again..
This is a great time to remind you that the actor playing Mulan supports the police brutality happening in Hong Kong during their protests. In case you needed another reason to not see that movie!
— acab (@markeroni97) June 26, 2020
The #BoycottMulan movement is still going strong today, with a significant amount of Twitter users vehemently criticizing the film’s lead actress and encouraging others to skip the Disney action flick.
Whether or not the bad publicity will affect how well Mulan does in the box office remains to be seen, though fans will find out for themselves in a couple of months’ time.
Featured image courtesy of Disney Movies