UK cinemas hit out at Mulan online free up

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Mulan

Image copyright
Disney

Image caption

The live-action remake cost a reported $200m to make

Disney’s decision to release its Mulan remake on its streaming platform has been strongly criticised by the body representing British cinemas.

The live-action reboot had been due in cinemas, but the company has now said it will be put on Disney+ in the US.

About cinemas
A movie theater (American English), cinema (British English), or cinema hall (Indian English), also known as a picture house, the pictures, picture theatre or the movies, is a building that contains auditoria for viewing films (also called movies) for entertainment. Most, but not all, theaters are commercial operations catering to the general public, who attend by purchasing a ticket. Some movie theaters, however, are operated by non-profit organizations or societies that charge members a membership fee to view films.
The film is projected with a movie projector onto a large projection screen at the front of the auditorium while the dialogue, sounds and music are played through a number of wall-mounted speakers. Since the 1970s, subwoofers have been used for low-pitched sounds. In the 2010s, most movie theaters are equipped for digital cinema projection, removing the need to create and transport a physical film print on a heavy reel.
A great variety of films are shown at cinemas, ranging from animated films to blockbusters to documentaries. The smallest movie theaters have a single viewing room with a single screen. In the 2010s, most movie theaters had multiple screens. The largest theater complexes, which are called multiplexes—a concept developed in Canada in the 1950s — have up to thirty screens. The audience members often sit on padded seats, which in most theaters are set on a sloped floor, with the highest part at the rear of the theater. Movie theaters often sell soft drinks, popcorn, and candy, and some theaters sell hot fast food. In some jurisdictions, movie theaters can be licensed to sell alcoholic drinks.

UK cinemas hit out at Mulan online release

About online
In computer technology and telecommunications, online indicates a state of connectivity, and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology this usually refers to an Internet connection, but (especially when expressed “on line” or “on the line”) could refer to any piece of equipment or functional unit that is connected to a larger system. Being online means that the equipment or subsystem is connected, or that it is ready for use.”Online” has come to describe activities performed on and data available on the Internet, for example: “online identity”, “online predator”, “online gambling”, “online shopping”, “online banking”, and “online learning”. Similar meaning is also given by the prefixes “cyber” and “e”, as in the words “cyberspace”, “cybercrime”, “email”, and “ecommerce”. In contrast, “offline” can refer to either computing activities performed while disconnected from the Internet, or alternatives to Internet activities (such as shopping in brick-and-mortar stores). The term “offline” is sometimes used interchangeably with the acronym “IRL”, meaning “in real life”.

The UK Cinema Association said it understands the same will happen in the UK, which is “hugely disappointing”.

Chief executive Phil Clapp said: “For many this will seem a step backwards rather than forward.”

UK cinemas hit out at Mulan online release

Cinemas have been reopening in the UK since July, but face a battle to tempt fans back. Most new releases have been delayed or released online.

Mr Clapp said: “With cinemas across the UK now continuing to re-open and welcome back their customers, the decision by Walt Disney Studios yesterday to put Mulan on their Disney+ service and not into cinemas will be seen by many as hugely disappointing and mistimed.”

Image copyright
Vue

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Around 40% of UK cinemas are thought to have reopened, with social distancing

On Tuesday, Disney confirmed the film would be available online in the US for $29.99 (£23) from 4 September.

Chief executive Bob Chapek said the cost would vary in other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Western Europe. But Disney has not confirmed its plans for the UK.

Mr Clapp said: “Rather than playing a great new family film in the best place possible to see it, the cinema theatre, audiences are instead being encouraged to stay home and pay a premium price to watch it.”

Mulan, which cost an estimated $200m (£152m) to make, will come out in cinemas in countries that do not currently have Disney+ platform, such as China, and where movie theaters are back in business, the company’s boss added.

The film had been scheduled for a full cinema release in March, but that has been postponed several times.

Mr Chapek called the move to Disney+ “a one-off”, but said the pandemic had forced the company to explore other revenue streams.

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Although around 40% of UK cinemas are reported to have reopened, many cinemagoers have not returned. Last weekend’s box office takings were just 3% of the total on the same weekend last year.

Commentators have suggested the Mulan move could turn out be a tipping point in the battle between cinema release and streaming.

The Guardian described it as “seismic”, Empire magazine said it was “potentially devastating news for theatre chains and us, the moviegoing public”, and The Telegraph accused Disney of “behaving as though it wants our cinemas to die”.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter quoted a letter sent by Disney to UK cinema operators, in which the company reportedly apologised and said the decision was “not taken lightly”.

It also reported a separate letter sent by Mr Clapp to UK Cinema Association members in which he called the company’s move “frankly bewildering”.

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