On August 4, Disney announced it would bypass theaters to release “Mulan” on Disney+, with a $29.99 surcharge, on September 4 — the same Labor Day weekend currently occupied by Warner Bros.’ “Tenet,” which opens September 3. Traditionally, this holiday weekend doesn’t interest distributors; it’s a date that favors low-budget filler and the occasional horror title, as audiences are less likely to spend the last days of summer in movie theaters.
But these are nontraditional times. Both films have seen multiple date changes. Both films were viewed as exhibition lynchpins — the titles that would give theaters a one-two shot at restoring their business. Now, we’ll see both high-caliber movies open head to head on very different platforms.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the “Mulan” move on an earnings call. He didn’t call it a strategy, and