"It’s a f*ck you to exhibitors"
Originally meant to be released in theatres in March, the film was pushed back due to the Coronavirus.
Mulan now be available through streaming service Disney+ on 4 September and a few select cinemas.
Disney+ users will have to pay another $29.99 in the US to stream the film – four times the price of the streaming service’s monthly fee.
The move, which was announced in Disney’s 3Q earnings call on Tuesday, was described as a “one-off” experiment for the film.
Disney added that it can “test almost anything” with regards to launching other films.
UK cinema owners have since expressed their disapproval of the move.
“It’s a f*ck you to exhibitors,” one operator said.
Phil Clapp, head of the UK Cinema Association described the move as “a step backwards”.
While no one under-estimates the challenges facing studio colleagues, at a time when many operators are showing faith in our business by investing in the safeguards necessary to re-open, we need the major studios – and film distributors in general – to do the same,” Clapp said.
“First and foremost, it will deprive hundreds of thousands of cinema-goers of the chance to see such an impressive film in the best possible environment, the cinema theatre.”
“With cinemas across the UK now continuing to re-open and welcome back their customers, the decision by Disney yesterday to put Mulan on their Disney+ service and not into cinemas will be seen by many as hugely disappointing and mistimed.”