Is this it? Will the trickle become a flood? Studios have flirted with PVOD throughout the COVID crisis. Universal were shunned by exhibitors until they struck a deal with AMC, now fellow exhibitors are shunning AMC too. All the while, the studios are watching waiting. All they were lacking was data to prove business cases and nobody was brave enough to be second out of the trench after Universal had promising results with The Hunt, The Invisible Man, Bloodshot and Trolls World Tour.

Release windows came and went as the slots for Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984 and Mulan sailed past, unfilled. Still theaters remained closed. Studio vaults groaned under the weight of $billions in finished products with no way to gt them to market. The dam began to crack. Then yesterday came major news from Disney.

CEO Bob Chapek announced that their big live-action Mulan feature will both hit cinemas and premiere on the Disney+ service on September 4th. On Disney+ it will be PVOD and will cost you $29.99 to watch it.

What’s more, the $29.99 is not a rental charge, and Disney+ subscribers who’ve paid that one-time charge will have:

“…continuous access to the film for as long as they remain subscribers to the service.”

So it’s yours to keep via Disney+ as long as you keep your subscription. Cancel, or get cut off, and it’s gone. It will, of course, be available free of charge eventually via Disney+ so this model mirrors things like Sky Cinema On Demand in the UK.

This is a global play. Almost all markets where Disney+ is active will get “premiere access” to the film beginning September 4th.

So that’s it then. Disney’s first foray into PVOD on their own platform with Black Widow queued up in that backlog somewhere. Data monkeys will pore over the results with a fine toothed comb. Other studio heads will be taking anyone they know at Disney out to dinner in the following months to try and glean everything they can from them.

That crack in the dam just got considerably wider.