Disney’s ‘Mulan’ disappoints at Chinese box office


The studio hired a team of consultants and historians. The filmmakers cut a kiss between Mulan and her sweetheart after a Chinese essay audience objected to the scene. They also shot landscapes in 20 locations across China.

“If ‘Mulan’ doesn’t work in China, we have a problem,” Alan F. Horn, co-president of Walt Disney Studios, told The Hollywood Reporter last year.

But in trying to make a culturally authentic film for China, Disney may have been criticized. Unlike the DreamWorks animated series “Kung Fu Panda,” an original story about the adventures of a brave panda named Po that was a runaway success in China, Mulan is a well-known figure to many Chinese. Cinephiles are said to have learned in school about the legendary heroine who secretly volunteered to take her sick father’s place in the military.

Even as the original 1,500-year-old poem, “Mulan’s Ballad,” has been reinterpreted over the centuries, Mulan has remained a central figure in the Chinese cultural imagination, as the feminist hero of the early Chinese nationalists, as as a human embodiment of filial piety, and, more recently, as loyalty to the State.

Lu Hang, Chinese film critic and producer, said familiarity with the character was part of the reason why Disney’s live-action “Mulan” hadn’t struck such a chord with Chinese audiences, even though the company’s other films – particularly its Marvel superhero glasses – have historically performed well in the country.

“As soon as you make a movie that has a hint of catering for the Chinese market, that’s when problems start to show up,” Lu said. “The movie portrays an imaginary version of China. , and many Chinese audiences cannot accept it. ”


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