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Mulan's Premier Access on Disney+ is a much better deal than it looks

While I scoffed at the initial price, Mulan might be the most reasonable "home and theater" premiere of 2020.

When Disney announced during its second quarter earnings report that Mulan was going to be the latest film of Disney's to come to Disney+ ahead early as theaters remain largely closed and home release windows get warped by the pandemic. Unlike Hamilton and Frozen II, though, Mulan was going to be a $30 upcharge on top of being a Disney+ subscriber, sparking outrage among fans and observers as Disney charged $10 more than competitors like Universal.

Turns out, Disney actually isn't overcharging for a rental. That $30 is an outright purchase, unlocking the film early on D+ and allowing you to watch it as many times as you like between September 4 and whenever the film comes to free D+ subscribers.

And that makes Mulan's pricing much more reasonable.

The other "home + theatrical premieres" we've seen this summer — like Trolls World Tour — have been $20 48-hour rentals for the first few months until they reach their actual "home release" window, at which point users can then buy the movie outright for $20 and rentals go down to more reasonable rates. The pricing here may seem steep, but if you're watching it with a family of six, $20 at home beats $60 at the box office, not to mention you can watch the movie at your kids' pace and re-watch the movie a few times before that two-day window expires.

For Mulan, however, you get a higher upfront fee to eliminate the secondary purchase fee down the road. $30 would maybe cover three movie tickets at a theater, but instead, you're essentially purchasing the film through Disney+ 3-4 months before its intended home release window. You'll be able to download the movie for offline playback — though just like buying a film from Google Play or iTunes, you can't download an unencrypted version of the movie to add to Plex or a personal media server — and you can watch it as many times as you want on any and every platform Disney+ is compatible with.

Do I wish that this price was an actual digital retailer purchase so that I could add the movie to my Movies Anywhere library and watch it on Google Play or Amazon Prime? Yeah, because if you stop subscribing to Disney+, you lose access to the movie.

On the other hand, do I blame Disney for wanting to keep a highly-anticipated movie on its most important service, further cementing Disney+ as a "must-have" subscription? Nah, you can hate the player but you gotta respect the hustle.

While many have said that they'd rather see Black Widow get this treatment than Mulan, I think it's far more reasonable for Disney to test the waters with the remake. If customers unilaterally shun this system and wait for Mulan to eventually come to all Disney+ subscribers — I'm guessing around Christmas or Valentine's Day? — then Disney will learn from it and can either hold off on Black Widow again or try a different tactic.

Either way, $30 to buy a movie while it's debuting in international theaters beats the pants off a 48-hour rental, and I am here for it.

I'm ready, let's go


From $7/month at Disney+

Bring on the magic!

From the oldest Disney classics to the latest blockbuster releases, Disney+ is the one-stop-shop for all the movies we want to watch, though you'll have to pay extra for Mulan.

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