The producer of ‘Mulan’ hasn’t given up hope that it plays in American movie theaters one day

  • Insider spoke to "Mulan" producer Jason Reed and he gave his thoughts about the movie's release on Disney Plus.
  • He admits that the movie was made for the big screen and hopes American audiences will see it in theaters one day.
  • Reed also opened up about the scene in the movie he's most upset fans will not get to experience as it was intended.
  • "Mulan" is available now on Disney Plus for an added $30 premier access price.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, American audiences will not get Disney's lush live-action version of "Mulan" on the big screen.

With theaters closed since March, the studio made the decision that it was best to present its story of a young girl overcoming all odds to save an empire on its streaming service Disney Plus (beginning Friday).

But the movie's producer, Jason Reed, is still hopeful that, one day, American audiences will see the movie the way it was intended.

"I would love for an audience to see it in a theater," he told Insider. "Interestingly, I think the audience that sees it on Disney Plus will lead to this movie having a lot of fans. I think people will really connect with the movie and if there's an opportunity in the future to go see it on the big screen, see it in a different way, there will be built-in interest for this movie."

"Mulan" producer Jason Reed.
Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Looking back on the last six months have completely shut down the country, Reed said every scenario on how to release "Mulan" was explored, even moving the release date to 2021. But it was Disney that ultimately made the decision to release it on its streaming service (with an added $30 premier access fee, though the movie will be available without charge for Disney Plus subscribers beginning December 4).

Reed hopes despite the size of the screen people see the movie on, they will recognize that it was made to be shown on an epic scale.

"[Director] Niki Caro, from day one her vision was expansive," Reed said. "Big, epic, beautiful filmmaking. We did design the movie for the theatrical experience."

Reed said the study of classic Chinese cinema was a heavy influence on the movie's style, as well as the classic epics made by Hollywood.

"Cinematographer Mandy Walker went and found lenses that were used in 'Lawrence of Arabia' and used them on the movie," he said. "If you see it on a 40-foot screen and you hear composer Harry Gregson-Williams' score in surround sound, it's fantastic. It's a very unique experience."

Currently, no one in the US will see "Mulan" this way. Other areas of the world, where the coronavirus has been contained, will get the movie theatrically, including China. But Reed said what will make the movie work on Disney Plus is the power of Mulan's inspiring story.

Liu Yifei in "Mulan."
Disney

"Seeing all this splendor through the title character is the greatest asset that the movie has," Reed said. "So when we transitioned to an at-home experience that audience is still getting the most important elements of the movie. And most TVs are pretty big these days."

However, Reed still can't hold back his disappointment that those epic fight scenes won't be showcased in on the big screens in America (for now, at least). Particularly the thrilling battle where Mulan (Liu Yifei) — who to this point in the movie has been disguising herself as a man and fighting with the Imperial Army against Northern invaders so her aging father didn't have to — reveals herself as a woman and decimates the invaders on her own.

"That big battle just is so cool on the big screen," Reed said. "Niki staged it in a way, with the mist clearing and the reveal of the armies and the score, you have this huge epic moment that you don't really get that often. Then with the close-up of Mulan, you understand the emotional baggage of the moment. I think it's big-scale filmmaking at its best."

"So I'm a little sad, I have to admit," Reed continued. "I want to see it on the big screen."

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