Why Disney (and Disney+) Needs the Streaming-First Release of ‘Mulan’ to Succeed

Last month’s success with “Hamilton” proved the need for Disney+ to provide fresh hits

Disney is just about ready to release its live-action reimagining of “Mulan” — just not in U.S. theaters. The studio is taking a bold risk putting the film on its streaming service for subscribers to purchase, but its previous success with shifting the musical phenomenon “Hamilton” to Disney+ from theaters paints a roadmap for “Mulan,” and gives the entertainment company a test case if it chooses to continue releasing films on streaming without a run through theaters.

The media giant has been clear that it sees “Mulan” as just an experiment, but the move represents a massive shift in thought on the entertainment giant’s content distribution strategy. The studio has shown a willingness to pull some of its smaller family films from theaters, moving “Artemis Fowl” and “The One and Only Ivan” to Disney+ earlier this year.

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Trey Williams

Trey Williams

Film Reporter covering the biz • trey.williams@thewrap.com • Twitter: @trey3williams