Disney’s new poster to promote the Chinese theatrical release of Mulan is facing backlash on social media. The studio announced earlier this week that the long-awaited movie is officially coming to theaters in China, though they did not specify when, only noting that it will be soon. Disney made some international theater operators pretty angry when they announced that Mulan was going to skip theaters and debut on Disney+ for a premium one-time price. One Italian theater owner decided to destroy a promotional standee for the movie with a bat to share his frustrations with the world.
The latest Mulan poster was posted on Weibo, which is basically China’s version of Twitter. Disney also released this statement: “When the magnolia blossom opens, it lives up to its reputation and arrives as promised. [Mulan‘s] import is confirmed and it will soon burst into bloom in theaters; looking forward to meeting you!” Other Asian markets like Singapore and Malaysia are getting the movie on September 4th, which may end up being the same date for China. With that being said, most of the comments on the post had to do with the poster art, not the announcement itself.
One person noted that the new Mulan poster is “ugly” and “dated,” which was echoed by several others who began to ridicule the image. “Did foreigners design this?? Is this for real??” wrote another Weibo user. “It looks like you messed up your Photoshop.” The design is allegedly so unappealing that some thought it was an unofficial poster. “At first I thought this was a poster put out by some cinema itself; only after searching did I figure out that this was actually issued by Disney itself.”
Even the font that was chosen was torn apart for looking like something that came out in the year 2000. Chinese social media users were picking everything about the poster apart and trashing it, which doesn’t bode too well for a major Disney production, though this isn’t the first time that China has had a problem with the live-action remake of Mulan. When the first trailer was released, people slammed it for being historically inaccurate and disrespectful. One person on Weibo said, “This film is just trying to ingratiate itself to Western audiences. It’s like they thought, oh, this element is really Chinese, it’s very Oriental so I’m going to shove it into the film.”
It will be interesting to see how well Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan does in Chinese theaters. While there are a lot of people slamming it on Weibo, there are also a lot of people who are very excited about the release and hoping that it comes out soon. As for North American audiences, it will also be interesting to see how many people end up forking over $29.99 to watch the movie from the comfort of their own homes. Variety was the first to report on the Chinese Mulan poster backlash. You can see the poster in question above.