How Coronavirus Could Impact the Premiere of Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ in China

With the coronavirus still a major concern in China, some are wondering what that means for Disney’s overseas debut of the live-action adaptation of Mulan. Is Mulan still premiering in China this March? According to a Disney spokesperson, the company is “monitoring the situation closely.”

Director Niki Caro of 'Mulan' and President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey
Director Niki Caro of ‘Mulan’ and President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Disney is set to premiere its live-action version of ‘Mulan’ in March

There’s a new Disney live-action adaptation heading to theaters this year — a reboot of the 1998 animated film, Mulan. The new version stars Liu Yifei as the title character, a woman who masquerades as a man to save her father and protect her family.

Because this movie stars a fierce Chinese warrior, some analysts predicted Mulan would be successful overseas. However, with the coronavirus outbreak, Disney might have to postpone the film’s premiere date in China.

There are some fears regarding coronavirus and the premiere of ‘Mulan’ in China

Mulan might not debut in China on its anticipated premiere date of March 27. This is due in part to the coronavirus and its impact on China. According to CNN, a Disney spokesperson said the studio is “monitoring the situation closely.”

“All of the movie companies that are expecting to distribute movies coming up in China obviously are impacted by this,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said during an interview with CNBC. “The bigger issue on everybody’s mind, the bigger concern, is what’s going on with this virus and how far will it go in terms of its impact on people.”

This is not the first time the coronavirus outbreak has impacted Disney. The company’s Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks recently had to shut down due to the virus. There’s no word regarding when Mulan will make its debut in China, but Disney will presumably release a statement as the North American premiere date draws near.

Why does China matter so much for the premiere of Disney’s ‘Mulan’?

Mulan features a predominately Chinese cast. Additionally, this adaptation reportedly follows the Chinese fable, “The Ballad of Mulan,” more closely than Disney’s original animated movie. Being that China is one of Disney’s largest markets overseas, the movie has been expected to make a big splash at its debut.

Mulan is a perfect example of where Disney’s infrastructure in China begins to pay off,” Aynne Kokas, a professor at the University of Virginia and author of Hollywood Made in China, told CNN Business. “It has the advantage of not being a story that just has a few Chinese characters added in, which Chinese audiences find insulting. It’s also a family film, which is a genre that has garnered success in the country.”

Disney’s Mulan premieres in the United States on March 27, 2020. Until then, fans can watch the original animated film on Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+.