Mulan Debuts To Low Numbers In Chinese Cinemas Amid Controversy

The live-action Mulan remake has made less in its opening weekend than Disney was likely hoping for.

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Disney's live-action Mulan remake is only available on Disney Plus is most markets, but the film has debuted in cinemas across China. The film, however, hasn't done so well--it has opened to just $25 million in its first weekend, Variety reports.

The film, helmed by New Zealand director Niki Caro, opened to $23 million over the September 11-13 weekend. That made it the number 1 film at the Chinese box office, but not by the margin Disney would have been likely expecting, as the film seems to have been made with the Chinese market in mind.

The new film, which is more serious than the previous animated version (there are no talking animals or musical numbers), was subjected to a media blackout in the country after outcry against the movie's troublesome production, where filming took place in the providence of Xinjiang, a region that contains interment camps used as part of an assimilation campaign.

The film also thanks certain government departments in the credits, and these departments have been linked to the internment camps. A growing dissent against the film has likely been part of the film's low gross. There's also the fact that the game has had a digital release in other parts of the world, meaning that it's relatively easy to pirate. This was the case with the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Of course, this is a strange year for cinemas, and goalposts and expectations have shifted so that Tenet's $20 million opening is viewed as a modest success and promising start rather than a devastating failure. But there's precedent for a much better number. Tenet opened to $30 million in China. The Eight Hundred, a film made in China, earned $161,000,000 when it opened wide across the August 28-30 weekend. It made $21.7 million last weekend, just below Mulan.

Disney has not released figures for how many people have bought Mulan through Disney Plus. The movie will be available to all subscribers at no additional cost from December.

In GameSpot's Mulan review, Meg Downey expressed disappointment with the film. "Instead of being a normal-but-headstrong girl who, for all her flaws, desperately wants to do good for her family, hiding her fun-loving self under a mask of 'proper' girlhood, live-action Mulan is a literal superhero," they wrote. "Her 'chi is strong,' which grants her some fantasy-inspired martial arts prowess even as a child that no one, not even the men in her life, seem to share, but because she's a girl she must keep these powers hidden."

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Tman08

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"There's also the fact that the game has had a digital release in other parts of the world" Um...its a movie, not a game. Who the hell proofreads this stuff? smh

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WarGreymon77

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I'll be glad when all these companies realize China isn't the pot of gold they're looking for and come back home.

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chaosbrigade

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Edited By chaosbrigade

@WarGreymon77: It can be, if the movie is good. I think the reason these movies fail is because Asians are sick of non-Asians trying to represent their culture and portray them in mass media.

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Rufus_the_rat

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Edited By Rufus_the_rat

@chaosbrigade: As though "Asians" are all one homogeneous group. What you really meant to say was MAINLAND CHINESE people are sick of non-Mainland Chinese trying to represent their culture. Mainland China would be even more angry if Japanese people tried to make a movie about them than they are that the US did. It's got nothing to do with Asian vs. non-Asian.

P.S. I'm sick of this identity politics BS grouping people and entire continents into huge homogeneous groups. Black people within a single country in Africa diverge wildly in terms of their politics (look at tribes in Rwanda), let alone whole continents or the planet. So do Europeans. There's no such thing as "white" or "black" or "Asian" culture. There's a huge diversity of cultures and political views across our planet which roughly correspond to nation states, but not always.

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chaosbrigade

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@Rufus_the_rat: A lot of samurai and ninja movies made by Hollywood also don't do well at all in Japan. Like I said, Asians don't want non-Asians, especially Hollywood, trying to portray them and represent them.

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WarGreymon77

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@chaosbrigade: All of these companies like pandering to China for the sake of money. But if they really want to do that, I hear action movies do very well in China.

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alastor529

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*shocked pikachu face

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blazingsonic

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When bob the destroyer killed Disney Infinity the red flags were waving, I just had no idea they came with flashing red lights and warning sirens.

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