Disney Expanding ‘Mulan’ PVOD Access to FandangoNow, Vudu

Disney’s high-profile premium video-on-demand (Premier Access) experiment, releasing the live-action movie Mulan to Disney+ subscribers, is now expanding to FandangoNow and Vudu.com.

Disney will make the movie available Oct. 6 on Vudu and FandangoNow, with pre-orders available now for the same $29.99 purchase price in SD, HD or 4K UHD currently offered to Disney+ subscribers.

Consumers pre-ordering Mulan on Vudu will get a $3 credit toward other movies and TV shows on the platform upon the film’s release. The movie was first released on Sept. 4.

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In mid-September, Yahoo! Finance, citing data from 7Park Data, reported that the movie had been purchased by 9 million Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 each through Sept. 12. That figure suggests the $200 million budget movie generated an impressive $270 million in direct-to-consumer revenue. A representative form 7ParkData later clarified on Twitter that they had estimated Mulan was watched by 29% of people watching Disney+ over the debut weekend, not total subscribers, which lowered estimated revenue to about $60 million to $90 million.

Unlike a typical PVOD transaction that gives a viewer a limited time period, usually 48 hours, to watch the movie, Premier Access is set up to allow Disney+ subscribers to pay the premium fee to unlock the movie on Disney+ for as long as they are subscribers, effectively giving those who pay early access to the movie before it becomes available to all subscribers in a few months.

Disney Offering ‘Mulan’ Access via Roku, Apple, Google Play

The Walt Disney Co. is a longtime champion of preserving the traditional theatrical window, eschewing industry efforts to push premium VOD in the home for new release movies.

As a result, the company’s decision to offer the live-action remake Mulan directly to consumers on Sept. 4 for $29.99 is a one-time bet requiring maximum distribution.

To that end, Disney will sell “premium access” to Mulan to Disney+ subscribers via Google Play, Apple and Roku. The move is significant considering that when CEO Bob Chapek first announced direct-to-consumer access to Mulan on the the company’s fiscal call, it was through Disney+ exclusively. Now Disney will share Mulan revenue with Apple, Roku and Google.

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The move suggests Disney might be having difficulty convincing Disney+ subs to directly purchase the film on its app.

“Starting Sept. 4, with Premier Access, you can watch Mulan before it’s available to all Disney+ subscribers,” Disney said in its FAQ section. “Disney+ will offer Premier Access to Mulan for $29.99 on DisneyPlus.com and select platforms, including Apple, Google and Roku. Once you have Premier Access to Mulan, you can watch as many times as you want on any platform where Disney+ is available. Your access to Mulan will continue as long as you are an active Disney+ subscriber.”

The movie thus far is not available through Amazon Fire TV, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox, despite the platforms affording access to the Disney+ app.