As summer winds down and the world re-enters academic and work schedules with a bit of normalcy, the entertainment and publishing industries are preparing for one of two outcomes: expected boosts in streaming and digital releases on the tail end of a global pandemic, or impending returns to in-person entertainment, ending the reign of digital attention in quarantine. Disney+ is no exception to this reality, so what can consumers expect from the platform as it approaches fall releases?
One major decision Disney+ made was the decision to release the newest adaptation of Mulan digitally. A whole six months earlier than the intended box office release in theaters in March, on September 4th, 2020, the film was made available to the public–at an extra cost. Previous Disney+ subscribers will have to pay an additional $30 to receive Premium Access to the movie. Four months after the initial release, the film will be made available to all regular and Premium subscribers in December. According to the official website for Disney+, Premium Access is “a DIsney+ exclusive starting September 4th” (disneyplus.com). The service will allow subscribers to watch the movie as many times as they want, but it is unspecified whether this tier of subscription will offer extended perks and exclusive releases beyond or after Mulan.
Premium tiers on streaming services are certainly not a new feature, and join ad revenue as some of the biggest moneymakers for such services. Spotify revealed in their Q1 2020 Report that out of 286 million active users of their service, 130 million were Spotify Premium users. The decision to release this service on Disney+ may be offered to compensate for lack of typical box office sales, but how are teens reacting to the additional charges required to access exclusive content?
Kendall Cox, 17, can justify Disney’s increase but doesn’t necessarily like it. “Thirty dollars? That’s not even the amount of money one person would have had to pay to view Mulan at a movie theatre, with snacks and drinks included.” She understands that to balance the $10 million debt Disney has acquired during the pandemic, prices must be raised, but is disappointed that this particular release costs extra, especially one that is “a movie full of culture and one that will add an immense amount of diversity into the film industry as a whole.” She also added that if Disney “could charge two extra dollars a month for the subscription and gain an extra $120 million, instantly getting them out of debt in just one month.” Kayla Ollie, 13, says, “I think that instead of increasing accessibility to great films, this feels like a scam just to benefit the company.”
Mulan is exclusively available on Disney+ with Premium Access now. Will you be watching it?
By Leah Ollie, Senior, Whitney Young Magnet High School