We thought Mulan (2020) was passable, but we do understand if many of you thought it was arguably worst than Disney’s past remaking efforts. However, Disney’s possible goal with this live-action adaptation of the 1998 animated classic is to pander to the Chinese demographic of cinema-goers.

The results? They’re mixed, if we’re being frank.

On one side of the spectrum, China’s foreign ministry is loving the film (via Malay Mail). Its spokesperson Zhao Lijian dismissed the controversy, saying it was “very normal” to thank the Xinjiang government for their help, shrugs off criticism by human rights organisations, and dubs Chinese-American star Liu Yifei (who supports the Hong Kong police FYI) as the “true child of China”.

On the other, well… We’ll just break it down (via ZhugeEX):

  • The show’s first two days at the box office in China has generated total sales of US$16 million. Mulan (2020) was made on a US$200 million budget, arguably the most expensive film to be made by a female director.
  • The film passed the RMB100 million mark on its opening weekend, falling short of RMB200 million (US$30 million).
  • The main issue isn’t due to COVID-19, as cases over in China are incredibly low in September. It’s because of being a late release in mainland China, the film being leaked digitally, and the poor reviews from on Chinese film aggregator site Douban.
  • As you can see below, most of the 42,000 reviews are rating the film either 3 or 2 stars out of 5. The film is panned for its terrible rehashing of the plot, poorly-implemented Chinese cultural influences, and “Westernised”.

  • For comparison’s sake, here are the results for the 1998 Mulan the adaptation was based on. 193k reviews, mostly 4 out of 5 stars.

The people of China have spoken. In any case, I’d hate to be the publication who gave this film a super-high rating. It kinda gives a huge telltale sign that your outlet is easily swayed and bought off by sneak peek of your space battle franchise & digital streaming service early access for the Southeast Asian side. As wise folks like Confucius would say: “integrity may not buy mansions, but it’s more important than you think”.

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