Disney’s Mulan boarded tracking this morning and is seeing a 3-day domestic start around $85M when it hits theaters on March 27. Some believe the live action remake of the 1998 musical animated pic has a shot to get to $100M+ based on tracking diagnostics and comparative titles, but the looming outbreak of the coronavirus stateside brings uncertainty in regards to how much it will damper grosses.
Exhibition sources told Deadline yesterday they were already lowering their projections for upcoming pics in the wake of MGM/Eon/Universal’s No Time to Die moving off its April 10 date for Thanksgiving. Even though no theaters have closed, there’s a worry that business may be slow, and we’ll see by the end of an event-filled March of Disney/Pixar’s Onward, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II, and Disney’s Mulan if that’s the case, and if other event titles move.
NATO issued a statement to quell exhibition fears yesterday after No Time to Die moved, saying ““The movie business is simultaneously global and local. All theaters in the U.S. and Canada and the vast majority of movie theaters around the world remain open with strong ticket sales. The decision to delay the release of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die” is very unique to that company and that movie. Conversations with other movie distributors confirm that a strong slate of global and local titles will continue to be released theatrically in all territories except those few countries most affected by the virus. Cinemas will remain open around the world with strong attendance, in line with local conditions, and in communication with local health officials.”
The Niki Caro directed movie has a first choice among all audiences that’s significantly higher than such Disney live action reboots Aladdin ($91.5M) and The Jungle Book, ($103.2M) but lower than The Lion King ($191.8M) and Beauty and the Beast ($174.7M). Mulan is strong, natch, with women and Asian audiences. Females over 25 are a bit stringer than females over.
While Mulan was built to dominate in China, particularly with its star Liu Yifei being a staunch nationalist (she supported the Hong Kong Police’s force executed against protesters on the Chinese mirco-blogging site Weibo during last August’s protests in the city), it will of course won’t be able to go day and date with the domestic release due the exhibition structure being closed in the PRC due to the coronavirus. Japan and South Korea are also not a part of the opening suite for Mulan given the COVID-19 virus.
Meanwhile, domestic estimates for Onward are down to $47M for this upcoming weekend from $50M earlier this week as headlines amp the unknown scare around coronavirus. Previews start at 6PM tonight. California issued a statewide emergency yesterday, while Los Angeles, the biggest moviegoing capital in the nation next to New York City, saw its county declare a local and public state of emergency yesterday.
Key markets launching with Onward‘s domestic include France (which has some cinemas closed), the UK, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Germany where the Tom Holland-Chris Pratt feature premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Australia joins in April in addition to Japan, Korea and Italy.