Chinese authorities have told major media outlets not to cover Walt Disney Co’s release of “Mulan,” in an order issued after controversy erupted overseas over the film’s links with the Xinjiang region, four people familiar with matter told Reuters.
Cast members Ron Yuan, Yifei Liu, Jason Scott Lee and Yoson An pose with director Niki Caro, at the European premiere for the film “Mulan” in London, Britain, on March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
Disney had worked to ensure Mulan tested well with Chinese audiences, and the company’s chief financial officer told investors on Wednesday that it was “very pleased” with the initial results of its release elsewhere.
The movie was released on Disney’s streaming service in many markets, rather than in cinemas, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mulan is likely to be shown on more than 40 percent of China’s screens on Friday, according to data from Maoyan, a Tencent-backed ticketing platform. Chinese theatres are currently limiting capacity, typically at 50 percent.
The film had sold 9.78 million yuan ($1.43 million) worth of tickets as of Thursday afternoon, accounting for 55 percent of all ticket sales sold across China for Friday’s shows.
One analyst, who declined to be named because he said the situation is sensitive, predicted the film would earn a dismal 150 million yuan at mainland box offices, given early audience reviews.
The film, which many have already seen online, has received a 4.7 score out of 10 on popular social media site Douban, where users leave reviews of films, books and music.