On the façade of the mythical Cathay cinema in Shanghai, a building with a colonial air, ‘Mulán’ wears his most warlike gaze. But not even wielding a sword in the middle of a heavy blizzard is able to attract Chinese onlookers. And, judging by the score of 4.9 points – out of ten – given by the more than 150,000 users who have voted for it on the Douban cinema portal, even less to satisfy them. «It is very noticeable that it is a Hollywood movie because the story does not respect the original legend and is full of clichés about China. It is very well done and it is very spectacular, but I think it is a missed opportunity, ”says Wen Gui, a student who came to see her on Saturday.
«In the original legend, Mulan is an ordinary girl. Has no superpowers, and he does not fight for the honor of the family but to save his father. When the emperor asks him what honor he would like for his ten years of struggle, Mulan replies that nothing, he just wants to go home, “explains Lialiu Chinese in a video that has gone viral on TikTok. These two young women are not the only ones who have been disenchanted with the latest Disney blockbuster. In fact, the first weekend’s box office has been disappointing: $ 23.2 million, 6.6 million less than ‘Tenet’, a film that he hoped to far surpass.
The American producer had proposed to compensate with the sweet Chinese market, the second largest in the world, the adverse effects they are having on the collection of the rest of the countries due to the ‘online’ premiere that the pandemic has forced, and the call for a boycott made by pro-democracy activists who declared war on the leading actress, Liu Yifei, after the support it gave the Hong Kong police in suppressing the demonstrations.
As if that were not enough, it has transpired that part of the film was shot in Xinjiang, where China has locked up hundreds of thousands of Uighurs in re-education centers, and that Disney thanks in the credits for the help received by various security agencies in that region with a predominantly Muslim population.
This political mess seemed like it was going to get Chinese viewers to see ‘Mulan’ en masse to show their support in a patriotic act, and even the ultra-nationalist daily ‘Global Times’ had led it to believe. Before the premiere, he stated that “those who try to boycott Liu will fail, because 1,400 million Chinese support her and ‘Mulán’ ». However, after seeing the film, the same newspaper has had to surrender to the evidence. “A poor artistic level and lack of understanding about Chinese culture cause the failure of ‘Mulan’ in China,” he titled last Friday. Added to all this is the circulation of pirated copies of the tape, one more stumbling block for Disney to recover the $ 200 million budget. I wanted to make everyone happy and, in the end, nobody is satisfied.