Disney+ will be the home of Mulan’s PVOD streaming debut. But what it is not saying is that it will also be the PVOD home of Black Widow. And don’t expect it to announce this plan, until it does. As reported in the Verge and other publications Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that Disney’s team is interested to “see what happens” both in terms of subscriber growth and how many people purchase Mulan. Translation (Provided by me) “If Mulan brings in hundreds of millions of dollars straight to Disney and leads to more subscribers we would be crazy to not give it a try Black Widow”
Disney does not know when the movie theater industry will look normal again. It also does not know when it is that people will be willing to pile in to theaters again open or not. In the meantime Disney has had to push back the release dates of its spring and summer tentpoles for 2020. The company lays out a release schedule over a year in advance and it is being torn to bits by pushing back releases, especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All of that aside, it will come down to how the numbers look with Mulan. It would not have been a surprise to see a film staring a Chinese female hero be a huge global success for both its obvious appeal in to the largest population in the world and a country in the midst of the “Me Too” movement. Mulan could have topped the charts at a billion dollars. Maybe not. But it is not outside the realm of possibility.
The thing about the movie industry and the market for premium video on demand, which is how the industry describes screening a movie in the theater and streaming it at the same time, is that the numbers show that movies that appeal to families do well in the home setting. And before you say “Well I won’t spend $36.00 to stream a movie” think about how much you would pay to bring 3-4 people to the movies. Yes, it is different at home. I prefer a darkened theater and have gotten used to heated recliner seats my market. I personally was an A-List subscriber. So I get it. For some people going to a movie theater means more than just seeing a story. It’s the sounds, the previews, the far larger than life picture. But right now that is not an option for most of us. If Mulan can pull 600-700 million down streaming you can bet you will see Black Widow rolled out.
It will not be immediately though. Expect it Thanksgiving Day or on what would have been Black Friday. Can anyone say “Black Widow Friday”? Would you put it past Disney to market it with a year long discount for the service? Or even a special discount on the movie for one day only? Maybe Mulan will start streaming for free the same day too. Disney knows marketing better than any other company in the world. And by the time we get to the cold part of fall without Christmas parades or trick or treating people will be thrilled to pay to jump back into the MCU. There is probably only one factor that would make Disney even think twice about such a strategy. And that is if they do in fact release both movies it could face a back lash for taking two live action movies staring women out of world wide releases. If this does come about you can figure there will be a conversation had about it being a missed opportunity. Even as Disney will push back pointing out Natalie Portman in Thor Love and Thunder and other examples of strong women Like Captain Marvel in their films. So keep an eye on this one.