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

Mulan on Disney+
Mulan on Disney+ (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

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.

Disney movies on Movies Anywhere

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

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.

Mulan Premier Access

Source: Disney+ (Image credit: Source: Disney+)

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.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

9 Comments
  • I'm realizing that, since the last episode of Mandalorian, that app hasn't really been used by anyone in my "household." I remember reading pundits who predicted that would happen. To keep, or not to keep?
  • I only have Disney+ because it's free for a year on Verizon. Even then it took me a few months to sign up, didn't bother until social distancing went into effect and businesses were closed back in April.
  • This is in no way, shape or form a "purchase". The closest analogy would be a "long-term lease" as the moment you stop subscribing to D+ you lose access to the content. Disney should have distributed this through traditional channels like iTunes or Vudu and not taking a dump all over their D+ subscribers by putting an additional paywall behind a paywall. It's almost like Disney doesn't even understand the concept of a subscription service.
  • Mulan is an 100 plus million dollar movie. They're not just going to flush that investment down the toilet.
  • They just did.
    I wager a majority won't get it. People aren't going to get D+ for Mulan. I'd rather wait for free Redbox code or until it is free on D+. I'd also wait for it to be $20 on blu-ray with free digital code that I keep and where I decide to watch it. $30 might be less than a theater for fancy, but free is even less
  • It's Disney. People will complain all day long, and then order it anyway, especially families. Mark my words.
  • This is a rental, not a purchase. If it was a purchase you wouldn't need to subscribe to a monthly service fee to watch it. It may be a long term rental, but in no way do you own the movie.
  • No, its not a good deal. A good deal is a 4K + Blu Ray + Digital Code at 20 or lower at your local store.
  • No. You are wrong. This is not a good deal. Stop caping for Disney. They need to just release it the traditional way or hold onto it until next year.