In the past decade, Disney has spent substantial amounts of money making live-action adaptations of its animated classics. However, the amount the House of Mouse is spending on the upcoming remake of 1998's Mulan might be a record high for the studio.
In an interview posted on Weibo and translated by box office analyst Gavin Feng, Gong Li -- who plays a witch named Xian Lang in the film -- stated Mulan has a budget of more than $300 million, the largest for any Walt Disney Pictures film to date. This number doesn't necessarily top all films under the Disney umbrella (Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame cost more than $350 million) and pertains to the main studio. It's unknown how much Gong Li might know about the actual budget of the film, so it's possible she might be over- or underestimating the cost.
Gong, known for her work in Memoirs of a Geisha and Shanghai, seemed to suggest that this was largely due the extensive visual effects work necessary to bring her character and the mysticism-rich world of Mulan to life. This makes sense, as the original animated film was part war epic and featured at least one large scale battle.
Other FX-heavy remake projects by Walt Disney Pictures such as The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast costing the studio roughly $170-255 million to produce, which suggests that the upcoming feature film will possess far more elaborate sets and perhaps more details CGI work. This new approximation of the film's budget would not be entirely unforeseen. It was reported the budget for Mulan could exceed $290 million in 2018.
Fans may wonder why this film in particular is receiving such a hefty amount. Over the past decade, Hollywood films have received more and more of their overseas gains from Chinese audiences, which has naturally prompted filmmakers and studios to appeal to this relatively new and large demographic. Mulan, which is loosely based on the life of a classic Chinese legend and features some of the country's biggest names, will likely appeal to that audience in a major way.
Mulan, directed by Niki Caro, stars Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Yoson An, Gong Li and Jet Lee. The film is scheduled to open on March 27, 2020.