Downloads of Disney’s streaming app rose 68% to 890,000 over the weekend, a sign its unorthodox online release of “Mulan” helped drive demand for the service.
In addition to the surge in installations, consumer spending on the app climbed 193% to $12 million compared with a week earlier, according to preliminary data from Sensor Tower Inc.
“Mulan,” a live-action remake of the 1998 animated hit, was released online Friday after the pandemic prompted Disney to scrub its U.S. theatrical rollout. To see the film, customers of its $7-a-month Disney+ service have to pay an additional $30 — an approach the company hasn’t attempted before. Disney is releasing the film in theaters in countries that don’t have the streaming platform.
The unusual premium video download is considered a test of whether streaming subscribers are willing to pay extra fees to purchase content. The COVID-19 crisis, which shut down theaters around the world, has prompted Hollywood studios to experiment with different release strategies. Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios made its “Trolls World Tour” film available online in April for a $20 fee.
In July, Disney put “Hamilton” — a filmed version of the Broadway show — on its streaming service at no additional cost. “Hamilton” generated a 79% or one million increase in week-over-week app downloads the weekend it was released, Sensor Tower said.
Apptopia Inc., another market researcher, put the number of downloads this past weekend at 674,000. About two-thirds of them came from the U.S.
The numbers only reflect downloads from the Apple Inc. and Google online stores and not other ways that customers could subscribe to Disney+ and purchase “Mulan,” such as through devices from Roku Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
It may take longer to get a complete picture of how “Mulan” did. Disney isn’t expected to immediately release purchase numbers.