Since the announcement of the reboot of the classic Disney film from 1998, “Mulan” has been in headlines for many different reasons, ranging from political statements to cost issues.
Although when it was first announced that Disney would be making a live-action version of “Mulan,” which they have been doing in recent years for various classic films, fans were thrilled. However, when Disney later said that there would be no Mushu, Shang or music, fans were immediately split; some were curious to see the more realistic side of the stories, others angry because of the loss of the beloved characters and songs.
That was just the start. In 2019, start actress Liu Yifei (who plays Mulan) made a political statement about the protests In Hong Kong and how she stood with the police and agreed with the Chinese government. This started the now infamous “#boycottmulan,” that surrounded most social media platforms. This slowly died down in people’s feeds, but soon enough other issues began to surface.
Nearing the release of the movie, Disney said that they would only be releasing the film on their private streaming network, Disney+ as a response to movie theaters shutting down due to COVID-19. In order to make up for box office profits, Disney+ members are expected to pay an additional $30-dollar fee on top of their monthly, $6.99 subscription payment, just to watch the film. Immediately, Disney+ subscribers were upset. Since they already pay for the subscription, they didn’t think it was fair to charge so much to be able to rent the movie. The film has grossed $57 million so far, but the cost to make the film was $200 million. Many speculate what will happen with the film, since it hasn’t made enough money and is surrounded by a lot of political controversy.
After the release of the movie, it was discovered that in the credits Disney thanks the government and many political groups in China that helped with the filming, due to most of the filming taking place in China or Chinese provinces. However, many were unhappy with this, since it was also discovered that there were scenes filmed in provinces that had concentration or work camps containing Uighurs (the Muslim minority in China). There are at least 85 detention centers for Uighurs in Xinjiang, where most of the filing happened.
Although some don’t find this to be a huge problem, it reignited the “#boycottmulan” movement. Many also see this controversy as Disney supporting or indorsing the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighurs, which is why they wish to boycott the film.
Many who work in the movie industry have come forward saying that when a film is shot in a different country, it is expected that in the credits they should be recognized and thanked. This idea helps to further people’s point of how far the movie industry is willing to go to make money because instead of filming it in a different place where there aren’t all these controversial things going on, they continued to do the filming in Xinjiang.
Although the film itself is realistic and historically accurate, the major controversies surrounding the movie make it hard for people to watch it. It is suspected that the movie will not make a large profit, leading to Disney rereleasing it later when COVID-19 has died down and people can safely return to movie theaters.
Taylor Snow//Editor In Chief