8:15 AM PST 3/5/2020 by Pamela McClintock
Disney's latest live-action remake of the classic animated movie opens in late March.
Disney's Mulan is targeting a heroic U.S. debut of $85 million or more, according to early tracking.
If those projections hold, the movie would score the biggest opening of 2020 to date (the current crown holder is Bad Boys for Life with $62.5 million). Bullish box office observers believe Mulan ultimately has a shot of matching, or exceeding, Aladdin's $91.5 million domestic launch in summer 2019, based on the strength of tracking.
Directed by Niki Caro and featuring an all-Asian cast, Mulan stars Chinese actress Liu Yifei as the titular heroine Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a man in order to spare her elderly father from having to join the military.
The $200 million tentpole, which rides into theaters on March 27, boasts strong awareness among general audiences and families and has three weeks left in which to make its final marketing push. It is the first of Disney's live-action remakes to carry a PG-13 rating, versus a PG.
To date, surveys from the various Hollywood tracking services don't indicate any slowdown in moviegoing in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, which has crippled the box office in China — where Mulan is counting on sizable returns — South Korea and Italy.
Disney has decided to stick to its overall global release plan for Mulan instead of shifting to a later date. On Wednesday, upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die became the first Hollywood tentpole to move — in this case, from April to November — because of the economic impact of the virus.
So far, Bond is a lone wolf. In addition to Mulan, March event pic A Quiet Place Part II isn't relocating. The Quiet Place sequel is tracking for a strong $60 million-plus start over the March 20-22 weekend.