Inside the ‘Mulan’ Flameout in China and Why Hollywood Can’t Seem to Bridge the Culture Gap

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Films about Chinese history and culture by American studios have fallen flat in China, and Disney remakes are no exception

Mulan 2020 Liu Yifei
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Despite Disney’s extensive efforts to appeal to them, Chinese moviegoers are mostly rejecting the new remake of “Mulan,” leaving the film as the latest example of an American take on Chinese culture that fails to make a big splash in the lucrative Asian market. Through two weekends in theaters, “Mulan” has only grossed $36 million in China and is currently projected to finish its theatrical run with $45-50 million. By comparison, last year’s remake of “Aladdin” made $53 million in China. While “Mulan” is expected to make a modest profit for Disney from its premium video on-demand Disney+ release in most countries, China had been expected to be a major revenue stream for the film similar to how the market provided $120 million of the $1.1


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