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The live-action Mulan remake was a gamble for Disney when the company decided to bump the blockbuster onto its streaming service rather than delay it once again as the coronavirus pandemic continued to make large-scale theatrical releases untenable. Now that it's actually hit Disney+ (for its additional $29.99 fee), the data is beginning to come out on the fantastical tale's impact.
Box office and revenue data isn't going to be tracked as simply as theatrical films' pulls — or even the money made by normal VOD downloads — since streaming services are precious about their internal data. But external experts can still weigh in on relevant data that can help draw conclusions. Sensor Tower, an app download research firm, estimates that installations of the app (from either the Apple App Store or Google Play) over the weekend of Mulan's launch shot up 68 percent from the weekend before. That doesn't include Roku or Amazon subscriptions and a download doesn't necessarily guarantee a fan's subscription — but it's still an interesting number.
A near-70 percent jump seems impressive (and it is, certainly) but perhaps more relevant is that Hamilton, the filmed version of the musical, had an even greater draw for newcomers to the service: its weekend boosted downloads by 79 percent. But Hamilton was free once fans jumped aboard the service. Mulan is not.
The premium download (on top of the streaming service fee) may be reducing the overall impact of the film, but it's certainly helping Disney+ spending. Sensor Tower estimates that in-app spending lept 193 perecent between Mulan weekend and the one prior. Makes sense considering the extra $30. However, it won't always have the hefty price tag that's kept it in the PVOD ranks of films like Trolls World Tour.
Mulan is available for an additional purchase on Disney+ now, but will be free for subscribers starting in December.