After many months of waiting, Disney’s live-action version “Mulan” is finally out. However, it’s causing far more issues than Disney may have originally anticipated from filming “Mulan”.
Christine McCarthy, a top Disney executive, finally addressed the issue this past Thursday at a Bank of America conference, only a few days after online criticism arose towards the film’s premiere in Chinese movie theaters. The credits of the movie thank a Xiajing Chinese government agency that has been accused of human rights violations time and time again.
Though Disney had thanked the agency for helping with the film in the credits, they had yet to speak publicly on the issue.
McCarthy acknowledged the issues at the virtual Bank of America conference, stating that, “Mulan was primarily shot in, almost the entirety, in New Zealand. And in an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this historical period piece drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China.”
In McCarthy’s words, it is “common knowledge” that you must have the permission of a government publicity department to film within the country. She also made a note in saying that it is tradition to acknowledge the national and local governments in the credits who allowed you to film there.”
Of course, that very recognition is what caused issues for Disney in the first place. However, McCarthy did not elaborate on the details of those issues. Disney had not made any further comments after the fact either.
The new “Mulan,” which is a live-action remake of the iconic animated film from 1998, was released in a few theaters internationally, as well as on Disney’s on-demand service, Disney+, for $30, this past weekend.
If you find yourself scrolling through the credits, you’ll likely see the company’s acknowledgment of various bodies of the Chinese government. A few of these acknowledgments were major red flags, including the Turpan Public Security and Tourism bureaus and the publicity department for the Xinjiang government.
Turpan is a city of just over 633,00 that sits outside Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.
The Turpan Public Security Bureau has an interesting history with the US, namely because they are listed as an organization involved in human rights violations and abuses.
Xinjiang has been a case of terrorism and extremism for the larger Chinese government for quite some time. Beijing notes that the crackdown is “necessary” and any accusations of mass detentions are “sensational rumors” and “groundless lies.”
Just this past Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that the film’s “thank you’s” directed to the Xinjian government were simply “normal practice” for “providing convenience.”
Unfortunately, the move to provide credit to these Chinese agencies meant serious backlash for Disney. Critics now demand clarification on Disney’s dealings with Xinjiang authorities. Social media users are calling for filming “Mulan” boycotts.
It has certainly generated a fair amount of publicity for the company, though as to whether it will affect the film’s box office performance, we’ll just have to wait and see.