ESC

Kissing the Chinese Government’s Ass Didn’t Help ‘Mulan’ at the Box Office

Mulan has kind of been a magnet for controversy with star Liu Yifei drawing a lot of heat for going all Blue Lives Matter during the Hong Kong independence protests and then again when it released and the film credits had a thank you for the people operating the Uighur concentration camps. Still, Disney stuck to their buns and really kissed China’s ass because they’re a huge market and one of the only places in the world you can go to a movie theater in 2020.

It did not work out for them. Remember when I said that the credits basically said “hey, big props to the people gearing up for the Uighur holocaust, love you, boo,” earlier in the article? Turns out that China wasn’t happy with that, even though Disney was giving them a big thumbs-up, because they don’t want a lot of attention given to them rounding up an entire ethnic and religious group and forcing them into camps, so they banned all coverage of Mulan to avoid the negative press.

Forbes reports that Mulan was a huge flop China, presumably because of this as well as the fact that Mulan plays like a third-rate wuxia film in a country that has produced some of the best action movies of all time.

Mulan debuted in China with $23.2 million in its opening weekend, with little hope that the film would leg out beyond the often-standard 2x-2.2x multiplier for Hollywood releases. So we’re looking at a Chinese total of between $46.2 million and $50 million. Now to be fair, that’s the second biggest Hollywood debut of 2020, behind Tenet’s (also somewhat soft) $30 million launch last weekend.

Movie theaters will probably come back eventually, because as long as people are willing to pay a premium to see a movie six months early then studios are turning those people upside down and shaking every penny they can out of their pockets. But that’s going to happen until at least 2022. In the meantime, film studios are going to have to explore other ways to make money, because it turns out kissing Chinese Communist ass isn’t cutting it.

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