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the Walt Disney flick Mulan are not exactly thrilling

Early assessments of this past weekend's stream-at-home release of the Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) flick Mulan aren't exactly thrilling. The movie itself earned good enough reviews, even if the live-action remake wasn't quite as critically acclaimed as 1998's animated version. But theater ticket sales and online rentals both seemed lackluster... at least according to movie industry insiders.

The opening weekend number puts it on the low end of other Disney films in the country and below “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan spy thriller that generated $30 million in box office receipts in its China debut last weekend. The results bring the film’s total international box office to $37.6 million, Disney said.

The film, a remake of Disney’s 1998 animated hit, once seemed like a sure thing, particularly in China, where the story is based on a centuries-old folk ballad. The $200 million production has an all-Asian cast and a female director. But the film was quickly plagued by controversy.

For the record, lots of movie theaters are still closed due to COVID-19. Even where they are open, patrons may be steering clear. Walt Disney didn't even bother trying to place Mulan in North American theaters first. Instead, the film originally slated for worldwide theatrical release was repackaged as a premium-on-demand (or PVOD) movie rentable to existing Disney+ subscribers.

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