Back in March, many movie-goers (myself included) were disappointed when theaters closed and Disney decided to push back the release date for its highly anticipated live-action remake of Mulan. At first, it was moved to July 24, then August 21. But finally, this past weekend on September 4, anyone with a subscription to Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, could finally view the film from the convenience of their home—for an additional $30, that is.
If you were willing to ante up the extra dough, you gained “Premier Access” to the flick, which in layman’s terms just meant that you were paying to see it early since Disney still plans to release Mulan to all its other Disney+ subscribers come December 4. It’s essentially the equivalent of going to see it in theaters versus waiting for it to come out on DVD and Blu-Ray. So, the real question you have to ask yourself is whether or not it’s actually worth it.
Well, according to Business Insider, more than a million families decided it definitely was.
Over Labor Day weekend, the film was viewed by 1.12 million US households. And if you figure that these families would likely have spent $30-$40 on tickets alone had they gone to see it in theaters (not to mention what they might have spent on drinks and popcorn), then $29.99 actually seems pretty reasonable.
You also have to figure in the fact that once you pay for Premier Access, you can re-watch the movie as many times as you want. You certainly won’t get that kind of a deal from theaters. But it’s still a pretty hefty price tag. It’s not as if you’re getting all the special features like you would if you bought it on video—not to mention that most videos don’t cost quite that much.
But for some families, it’s not going to be about the money, it’s going to be about the experience. Focus on the Family’s Parenting team has created a list of 7 Ways to Keep Your Family Close During These Challenging Times, but perhaps with home releases of movies like Mulan, we could add one more thing to the list: watching a movie together that you can’t see in theaters.
Of course, if you are tempted to add it to the list, especially if you have young children in the house, be sure to check out our review first. But for me and my friends, it was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together—while still maintaining social distancing. We grew up watching the animated version. And even though we knew there wouldn’t be any sassy grandmothers, no Mushu cracking jokes, and certainly no power ballads to inspire a sing-along, we wanted to see it. And we wanted to see it together. So, we footed the bill, ordered some pizza and sat down to enjoy it.
Ten years from now, I can’t say that I’ll remember every movie I watched during the COVID-19 pandemic. I probably won’t even remember what I thought about this movie. But what I will remember is gathering a group of friends to provide our own personal brand of commentary while watching it. For us, the experience was worth the money.
So, if you want to see Mulan before December, it’ll still cost you $30 plus the subscription fee of Disney+. But whether or not you choose to view it, I still highly encourage you to find a film that you can safely enjoy with friends or family and just make a night of it.