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Disney CEO Says This is Why “Mulan” Went Premier Access, While “Soul” Did Not

Jason Gurwin

With theaters still closed and no idea when they would be open and operating at normal capacity, the premiere date for Disney’s long-awaited blockbuster, “Mulan” came and was postponed twice, before the company decided to release the film as a PVOD on Disney+.

There was a caveat, however: “Mulan” was not included with the regular Disney+ subscription as “Hamilton” and “Black is King” were. Instead, it came out on Sept. 4 as a “Premier Access” offering for $29.99.

In October, though, Disney announced that Pixar’s “Soul” was skipping theaters and heading straight to Disney+ on December 25th — with no extra fee. The film was originally supposed to be released in theaters on November 20th.

On their Q4 2020 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek gave some more insight into the decision, “We were very pleased with the release of ‘Mulan’ as a Premier Access title. Unfortunately, that title was met with some controversy, both in the U.S. and Internationally. We saw enough of very positive results, before that controversy started, to know that we have something here with a Premier Access strategy.”

The company didn’t disclose how much they made from Premier Access on the film.

But, when it comes to “Soul”, Chapek said that it was important to give a gesture to base-level subscribers around holiday time.

“In terms of Soul, we also realize that part of the lifeblood of Disney+ is providing great content to the base level subscribers…we thought it was a really nice gesture to our subscribers to take ‘Soul’ (to Disney+) during the holiday period and provide that as part of the service.”