After dropping the teaser trailer for next year’s Mulan last July, Disney has released a new look at the live-action remake of the 1998 animated story about a young woman who risks everything to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known.
When the original teaser dropped during half time of the Women’s World Cup soccer final this summer, the world took notice. In its first 24 hours, the first-look logged 175.1M online views, topping all Disney Live Action comps. Of the 175M global Mulan look-sees, 52M came from China.
Mulan later made headlines when star Liu Yifei became the subject of controversy for comments she made on social media about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The Chinese-born actress wrote on blogging site Weibo that she stands with the Hong Kong police, who since June have been engaged in a crackdown on anti-government demonstrators and journalists in that country.
Her political stance put Disney in the middle of a global human rights maelstrom as the Twitter hashtag #BoycottMulan spiked globally. Still, it’s unclear whether this will impact the film, which hits domestic theaters on March 27, 2020. Mulan has not been dated yet in Hong Kong and, as is typical, a China date will likely be confirmed about a month ahead of the North American release. A source in China tells us Mulan’s prospects have not been dinged there because Liu’s sentiments are shared by many. And while most Chinese know the lore of Mulan (more recently, a 2009 local film starred Vicki Zhao), folks today are intrigued to see how Disney brings the live-action Chinese story to the world.
The original animated Mulan, which made $304M globally, had a small 1999 China release, well after the domestic debut, and faced criticism at the time.
In the new film, when the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father.
Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.
Mulan also features Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor.
The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.”
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