The team behind Disney’s live-action Mulan gathered on the red carpet to celebrate the long awaited Hollywood premiere of the film on Monday, while major events continue to be cancelled around the world due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Disney has postponed the theatrical release of the remake in China as cinemas remain closed amid the outbreak, but the film is still set to be released in US theatres on March 27 and publicity efforts continue to go ahead, including a performance of theme song “Loyal Brave True” by Christina Aguilera on Jimmy Kimmel Live Tuesday night.
Update: According to a statement on Mulan’s Twitter account from director Niki Caro, the film’s “worldwide release” has been postponed “for now.”
A message from Mulan Director, Niki Caro. pic.twitter.com/0L3VzAfaeB
— Mulan (@DisneysMulan) March 12, 2020
The film starring Liu Yifei, Gong Li, Donnie Yen and Jet Li, was generally well received by critics at the premiere. Although the remake leaves some of the classic nostalgia in the past, the action, production and on-screen chemistry led to high praise for Liu and director Niki Caro.
#Mulan is exciting, vibrant, emotional, and different from the animated version. It's definitely its own thing, which I dug – a more mature Disney film, featuring stunning production design & fight choreography. Director Niki Caro & star Liu Yifei are the big stand-outs, imo pic.twitter.com/p6IEQUDNBu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) March 10, 2020
Disney’s Mulan remake leaves a lot behind, but offers much more in its absence. Plenty of 1998 throwbacks pepper a story full of incredible action, humor, and heart.
— Alison Foreman (@alfaforeman) March 10, 2020
Besides the film itself, the hottest topic of the night seemed to be Ming-Na Wen, the voice of Mulan in the animated version. Fans on Twitter commented in disbelief at the original #warriorprincess’s ageless side-by-side comparison with the 1998 premiere of the original animated film.
— ?️? Betty Oop ?️? (@AbbieHollowDays) March 10, 2020
It continues to be a bumpy ride to the box office for the movie however. Some commentators have expressed dissatisfaction with the creative team’s efforts on the remake, with screenwriter Amanda Silver facing criticism after she made a comment regarding the incorporating of “specifically Chinese” themes into the film, views that some have labelled as Orientalist.
#Mulan screenwriter Amanda Silver says the film brought forward “themes that are specifically Chinese,” such as “Filial piety… The idea that the western hero is always out for themselves and the eastern hero is more for family and the group… That’s where the reward comes from” pic.twitter.com/SbXCG8B4x0
— Variety (@Variety) March 10, 2020
Some have more aggressively moved to #boycottmulan since lead actress Liu Yifei posted a widely-shared Chinese meme in support of the Hong Kong police last year.
The theatrical release is approaching in the United States, but growing concern over the spread of Covid-19 is causing people all over the country to avoid crowds and close contact. Cinema closures in urban hubs could seriously impact Mulan‘s box office showing, but Disney’s hopes still appear high for the warrior.
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