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  1. Disney's Mulan is a smash hit on pirate sites, where millions of people streamed and downloaded pirate copies of the film over the past week and a half. For days on end, the film has been pirated many times more than the competition, which is a rare sight. This 'success' is the result of a volatile mix of steep costs, low availability, and high-quality pirate alternatives. Online movie piracy has plagued Hollywood for roughly two decades now. Despite numerous enforcement efforts, the problem only appears to get worse. Ten years ago, the threat mostly came from torrent sites which proved to be a hurdle for the impatient or tech illiterates. Today, there are hundreds of streaming sites and apps that rival Netflix, Disney, and other legal platforms. We can’t say that the movie industry hasn’t changed. Responding to rampant piracy figures, movies have appeared online more swiftly after their theatrical release. During the current pandemic, several prominent titles even premiered online. However, that appears to have had little impact. The release of Mulan illustrates this perfectly. After several delays, the film skipped the box office in most countries. Instead, it was released on Disney+ where viewers had to pay an extra fee to see it. The exact price differs per region but in the US it’s roughly $30 on top of the regular subscription. That’s a steep price or a bargain, depending on who you ask. Disney would argue that two box-office tickets plus drinks and popcorn would cost more. And you’ll save on gas too. Then again, compared to the dozens of other titles you can watch on Disney+ for the regular monthly subscription fee, it’s quite expensive. Without arguing over who’s right or wrong, the online premiere of Mulan had a major side-effect. For days on end, it’s been the most pirated movie, crushing all competition by a wide margin. Over the past several days, we’ve collected various samples of download figures from public torrent trackers with help from I Know. We don’t like to publish hard numbers as it’s impossible to capture all downloads perfectly. However, it’s clear that Mulan was downloaded millions of times through torrent sites alone. We have seen many pirated movies appear online over the past decade but seldomly do the download figures stand out like this. For example, on the first full day that it was online, September 5, Mulan was downloaded 900% more than the second most downloaded film (The Owners). This dominance continued throughout the week when no other movie came close, not even newer releases. To give an indication, here are the download estimates of the five most-downloaded movies in our sample on September 5. Pirated torrent download sample September 5 And here’s the same list a week later on September 12, more than a week after the first pirated copies appeared online. The download numbers in our sample dropped significantly but remain higher than the competition, with 300% more downloads than runner-up Ava. Pirated torrent download sample September 12 We should stress that these numbers are based on data from public torrent trackers; direct download sites and pirate streaming views are not considered. However, it clearly shows how popular Mulan is. Another good reference point is a comparison to last year’s hit release from Disney, The Lion King. That was very popular on torrent sites as well but the number of downloads was roughly 50% lower than Mulan on the first day, and also 50% lower the week after. There are several reasons that contributed to Mulan’s popularity and we’ll discuss a few here. Various surveys have shown that the most common motivation for pirates is “because it’s free.” This cost factor definitely plays a role in Mulan’s release. The pricing differs from country to country but in the US it’s $29.99, which sits on top of the $6.99 monthly subscription. Needless to say, this is a bigger hurdle to overcome when compared to regular movies that come out on Netflix or Disney+. The costs are not too far away from those associated with a visit to a movie theater for two people, but that’s where the second argument comes into play. When a movie usually premieres at the box office there are no high quality pirated copies. If there’s a release it’s usually a ‘camcorded’ version, which we saw with Tenet recently. In this case particularly, pirates prefer to pay for quality. With Mulan the situation is different. Soon after the movie appeared on Disney+, high quality pirated copies were widely shared. These are direct competitors to, and substitutes for, the official release. Finally, there are many regions where Mulan is simply not legally available. This means that for some the only option is to wait for several months avoiding all spoilers, or go down the illegal route. There may be other factors that play a role as well but steep costs, low availability, and high-quality pirate alternatives certainly play a major role. While it may be tempting to conclude that Disney’s strategy backfired, that conclusion is too easy to reach. Game of Thrones was widely known as the most pirated TV-show for years, but all the buzz surrounding the show also resulted in many new HBO subscriptions. Disney may hope for the same. The company has a dedicated anti-piracy department and knew what to expect. Perhaps they didn’t anticipate this piracy bonanza, but if it resulted in an equal boost in new subscriptions, they likely won’t complain. Source: TorrentFreak
  2. Every week we take a close look at the most pirated movies on torrent sites. What are pirates downloading? 'Mulan' tops the chart, followed by ‘The Devil All The Time'. 'Antebellum' completes the top three. The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. These torrent download statistics are meant to provide further insight into the piracy trends. All data are gathered from public resources. This week we have three new entries in the list. Disney’s action drama “Mulan” crushed all competition on pirate sites and is the most downloaded title this week again. The film eventually came out on Disney+ three weeks ago after the box office release was delayed several times due to the COVOD-19 pandemic. The most torrented movies for the week ending on September 21 are: Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer Most downloaded movies via torrent sites 1 (1) Mulan 5.7 / trailer 2 (…) The Devil All The Time 7.2 / trailer 3 (…) Antebellum 5.5 / trailer 4 (3) Ava 5.4 / trailer 5 (2) Bill & Ted Face the Music 6.5 / trailer 6 (4) Tenet 7.9 / trailer 7 (9) Greyhound 7.1 / trailer 8 (6) Peninsula 5.6 / trailer 9 (5) Project Power 6.1 / trailer 10 (…) Lost Girls and Love Hotels 4.6 / trailer Note: We also publish an updating archive of all the list of weekly most torrented movies lists. Source: TorrentFreak
  3. You won’t need Disney Plus to watch Mulan starting next week The movie is moving to all digital retailers If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Image: Disney For anyone who wanted to watch Mulan but didn’t want to sign up for Disney Plus, the movie is heading to Amazon, FandangoNow, Vudu, and other digital retailers on October 6th. The film is currently available to preorder for $29.99. Mulan debuted on Disney Plus on September 4th as a “Premier Access” title. Disney Plus subscribers could spend an additional $30 to own the film. In order to keep the film, however, they had to keep up their Disney Plus subscription, which costs $6.99 a month. Now, Disney is making the movie available (for purchase) to anyone, anywhere. Mulan is available to preorder in SD, HD, or 4K UHD. Disney’s decision to move Mulan, which was originally intended for a theatrical release, to Disney Plus came at a pivotal moment for the company. Like other studios, Disney’s theatrical slate was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain movies were delayed to 2021, including Marvel’s Black Widow, Mulan became an experiment for Disney — would people pay $30 for a new, anticipated film? More importantly, would it keep people subscribed to Disney Plus, one of the company’s only growing sectors right now? “We’re very pleased to be able to bring Mulan to our consumer base that has been waiting for it for a long, long time as we’ve had to unfortunately move our theatrical date several times,” CEO Bob Chapek said on an earnings call. Disney hasn’t released numbers for Mulan, making it difficult to gauge just how well or how poorly the film performed on Disney Plus. Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, said the company has been “very pleased with what we saw over the four-day weekend” at a recent conference, as reported by Bloomberg, but actual figures will have to wait until Disney’s next earnings call. What remains clear is Disney, like other studios, is trying to figure out how to work with the unprecedented uncertainty in the filmmaking and distribution markets caused by the pandemic. Warner Bros.’ Tenet saw some decent revenue internationally but failed to perform well within the US due to limited theater openings. And as many locations remain closed in key markets like Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco — and with moviegoers hesitant to return to the confines of an indoor theater — trying to figure out alternatives for big-budget projects is a key challenge going forward. That’s why Mulan moved to Disney Plus in the first place, and why more movies may shift to streaming as well. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming Borat sequel is set to arrive on Amazon Prime Video later this month. Still, for people who don’t want to purchase Mulan but might be interested in checking it out, the film will be available to stream on Disney Plus as a regular title beginning December 4th. You won’t need Disney Plus to watch Mulan starting next week
  4. Loyal, brave, and true — The full trailer for Disney’s live-action Mulan is here, and it’s breathtaking "When they find out who you are, they will show you no mercy." Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei stars in Disney's live-action Mulan. Disney has released the full trailer for Mulan, the studio's live-action remake of its own 1998 animated film. When the first teaser dropped in July, I noted that, while I'm not a huge fan of Disney's live-action remakes, "this is an effective, sumptuously eye-catching teaser for Mulan." This latest trailer cements that assessment. It looks gorgeous, very much in the style of a period war drama, and its rumored $300 million production budget shows in every breathtaking shot. Both films are based on the Chinese legend "The Ballad of Hua Mulan," which tells the story of a young woman in the Northern Wei era (spanning 386-536 CE) who takes her father's place when each family is required to provide one male to serve in the emperor's army. In this version, Hua Mulan is already a well-trained fighter, and she serves for 12 years, with none of her fellow soldiers ever suspecting her true gender. Disney's animated film broadly followed the traditional storyline, except Mulan is not well-trained when she first runs away. The film also added a love interest, a goofy dragon representative of the family ancestors named Mushu (hilariously voiced by Eddie Murphy), and a catchy original soundtrack. Mulan was released to critical acclaim, grossing $304 million worldwide and earning Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. In other words, while it didn't exactly set the box office on fire, it was popular enough to merit a spot on the roster of Disney's ongoing live-action remakes. This new live-action version, directed by Niki Caro, also preserves the traditional storyline and several elements of the original film. The matchmaker has just found the free-spirited Hua Mulan (Liu Yifei) a suitable match, and Mulan dutifully tries to learn the arts associated with being the perfect Chinese wife—while secretly practicing martial arts. She's far better at the latter. When her famed war veteran father Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma), who has no sons, is conscripted into the Emperor's army to help ward off Northern invaders led by Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee), she disguises herself as a man to take her father's place. Mulan also has a younger sister, Hua Xiu (Xana Tang) in the live-action version, which also includes a new Khan ally: a witch named Xianniang (Gong Li) who can shapeshift into a hawk form. This new trailer opens with Hua Zhou lecturing his daughter on the importance of being a good Chinese wife. "Do you know why the phoenix sits at the right hand of the emperor?" he says. "She is his guardian. His protector. She is both beautiful and strong. Your job is to bring honor to the family. Do you think you can do that?" We see Khan's horde in action, leaping up walls and leaving no survivors, and several dramatic shots of the witch Xianniang, who is quite a formidable fighter herself. And we see Mulan running off in the middle of the night to take her father's place: "It is my duty to protect my family." First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Mulan finds a mentor in Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) and a love interest in an ambitious fellow recruit, Chen Honghui (Yoson An). A training montage leads up to a head-to-head confrontation between Mulan and Xianninang—two strong female warriors defying convention. "When they find out who you are, they will show you no mercy," the witch warns. But as the two armies prepare to battle it out, I'm betting Mulan will make good on her vow to "bring honor to us all." At least in the trailers, the elements of slapstick from the animated film are noticeably absent. I'm OK with that choice; an ambitious re-invention is vastly preferable to just producing a shot-by-shot remake of the original (I'm looking at you, live-action Lion King). Mushu fans in particular have been lamenting that character's absence. However, there's a brief scene where Mulan's father prays to the family ancestors to keep her safe, followed by a shot of a colorful winged creature rising into the air. It's not the hawk form of the witch, either, so this just might be a less overtly comedic version of Mushu, in phoenix rather than dragon form. The cast list includes Jun Yu as the voice of Mulan's pet cricket, Cri-Kee, so if Cri-Kee is in it, why not Mushu? All of which leads me to suspect there will still be a bit of humor in the final film, if only to break up the tension now and then. Prediction: controversy over some political statements by Liu Yifei regarding the Hong Kong protests notwithstanding, Mulan is likely to be a huge box office hit for Disney next year. Mulan hits theaters March 27, 2020. Source: The full trailer for Disney’s live-action Mulan is here, and it’s breathtaking (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  5. Disney’s live-action Mulan looks more like a period drama in first teaser "Quiet. Composed. Graceful. Disciplined. These are the qualities of a good Chinese wife." Yifeu Lu stars in the title role of Mulan, Disney's live-action remake of its 1998 animated film. Disney has dropped a teaser for its forthcoming film, Mulan, giving us our first real look at the studio's live-action remake of the classic 1998 animated film. (Mild spoilers for the 1998 Disney animated film below.) Both films are based on the Chinese legend, "The Ballad of Hua Mulan," telling the story of a young woman in the Northern Wei era (spanning 386-536 CE) who takes her father's place when each family is required to provide one male to serve in the emperor's army. In this version, Hua Mulan is already a well-trained fighter—the Arya Stark of Chinese legend—and she serves for 12 years with none of her fellow soldiers ever suspecting her true gender. Disney's 1998 animated film broadly follows the traditional storyline, except Mulan is not well-trained when she first runs away. The film also added a love interest and a catchy original soundtrack. Mulan was released to critical acclaim, grossing $304 million worldwide and earning Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. That was a marked improvement on Disney's prior two animated films, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, but well below the box office success of classics like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. But it was good enough to merit a direct-to-video sequel in 2004 and a spot on the roster of the studio's ongoing live-action remakes. The remake is being described as more of a "war action drama," and there's only the barest hint of the animated film's soundtrack in the background, but it's still the same essential plot. Per the official synopsis: When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation… and a proud father. I am not usually a big fan of Disney's live-action remakes of their classic animated films, but I have to admit, this is an effective, sumptuously eye-catching teaser for Mulan, one of my favorites in the Disney oeuvre. We see our free-spirited heroine (played by Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei) riding her horse across the Chinese countryside, only to come home to the news that her family's matchmaker has found her an auspicious match. "It is decided," Mulan's father, Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma), says, perhaps sensing his daughter isn't exactly thrilled by the news. "It is what is best for our family." And of course, Mulan initially submits: "Yes. I will bring honor to us all." Cut to her training in the art of being the perfect Chinese wife, where we are treated to a litany of desired virtues: quiet, composed, graceful, disciplined. But Mulan embodies them in her own way, as we see her secretly practicing martial arts before running away to take her father's place in the emperor's army to fend off an attack by Hun warrior Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee)—originally known as Shan You in the original animated film. Mulan also has a sister, Hua Xiu (Xana Tang) in the live action version, which also includes a new Khan ally: a witch named Xianniang (Gong Li). These elements may derive from the Sui Tang Romance, a 17th century tragic novel based on the Mulan legend, in which Mulan has a younger sister and bonds with a fellow female warrior named Xianniang. Mulan is slated for theatrical release on March 27, 2020. Listing image by YouTube/Disney Source: Disney’s live-action Mulan looks more like a period drama in first teaser (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
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