Disney’s ‘Mulan’ gets mixed reviews at China launch
HONG KONG: Walt Disney’s live-action war epic “Mulan” opened to a lukewarm reception in China on Friday as it battled with mixed reviews and COVID-19 curbs on cinemas.
The film, based on a Chinese folk story, had taken in 46 million yuan ($6.73 million) at the box office by 8 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), according to online ticketing platform Maoyan – a slow start compared with other blockbusters.
Starring big-name Chinese-born actors – Jet Li, Gong Li, Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei – “Mulan” was tailored to appeal to audiences in China, the world’s second-largest movie market.
But there was no major media build-up and no star-studded premier or red carpet launch.
Online reviewers in China seemed more concerned about the plot than the politics.
The film, which has already been released on Disney’s streaming service in many markets, was rated 4.7 out of 10 on China’s popular social media site Douban.
Some posters pointed out historical inaccuracies, including the use of buildings that only appeared hundreds of years after the film’s setting.
The movie’s “pre-sales started too late, and it got quite some extreme reviews before the premiere,” said Liu Zhenfei, an analyst with Maoyan.
“On top of the fact that it is impacted by piracy issues, because the storyline is Chinese, it faces higher expectations when shown in China,” he said.
The ticketing company predicted Mulan would likely take in less than 300 million yuan in ticket receipts during its entire run in China.