Well… f*ck! That’s it folks. Show’s over! The data is in and what was being laughed at as a bit of a bust a couple of weeks ago is now looking like a very shrewd move. It is likely that this has shown other studios the way. Mulan was the unlikeliest of test cases.

Commentators said it was a gamble. They said the price point was too high. They said nobody would pay for it when it would be on Disney+ anyway in three months. Shows what we know! Yahoo is reporting that analytics research firm 7Park Data have crunched the numbers and it is quite extraordinary.

29% of the U.S. households that subscribe to Disney+ decided to stump up the $30 fee. More people did that than watched any other free title on the platform in the week of release. There are over 60 million Disney+ subscribers and around half of them are in the USA.

7Park Data has worked these numbers through to show that 9 million US households purchased Mulan at $29.99. Therefore according to 7Park:

“…profits would pile up to $261 million – and that’s on the conservative side.”

So they think it’s probably higher. And that is in the US alone. It was released globally wherever there is Disney+. Even when you consider that the production budget of Mulan was reportedly $200 million this is one hell of a result for Disney.

Importantly, remember that in the US studios only take up to 60% of the ticket price for massive movies. For less tentpole movies it’s usually lower. By the time you get to overseas markets it’s even lower still, frequently as low as 20%. Here Disney get to keep 100%. Every last cent. They don’t even have to pay Amazon or Apple TV a streaming commission.

See how that stacks up against Tenet, which has been out for two weeks and only just hit $200 million globally with a paltry $30 million in the US. Where Mulan did open in theaters overseas it only dragged in $37 million, so way behind whatever the PVOD take was outside the US, probably around the same again as the US figure.

Don’t forget, this Mulan number was against all sorts of controversy about the Chinese treatment of Hong Kong, detention camps and had mixed reviews. Goes to show, make it easy for people to watch a movie, and they will watch it regardless of what Twitter says.

So the results speak for themselves, the comparison is there for all to see and other studios will have been watching.  There must be over $1 billion in sunk costs sitting on the shelves in studio vaults right now (Wonder Woman 1984, No Time To Die, Dune, Black Widow, Death On The Nile, Greenland…) and no way of getting enough people into theaters to make profits. Hard times ahead for theater owners as studios will now want to navigate these uncharted PVOD waters.

“I spy profits…”

If I was SVP of Marketing at, say, Universal with No Time To Die or any of the others, I would make a massive online event (DC Fandome style) out of some kind of vote. Make it  a huge audience engagement play and collect data. Ask the public to vote if they want to wait to see it in theaters, possibly until late spring next year, or pay $30 now to see it at home. Use that to create a fanfare, unveil the result online with some hype. Sell the data collected to other studios for a fee, and tell fans “Look, we did what you asked for!” Win-Win.