Seeing Disneys real life movie business from Hua Mulan

 Seeing Disneys real life movie business from Hua Mulan

In addition to giving reasonable reasons for her fathers military behavior, Hua Mulan conceals her ability, competes with her colleagues in the army, discloses her female identity, saves the emperor, and even finally seems to have agreed to enter the palace as an official. There is no clear reason for her role to do so, and the audience can not agree with the roles behavior choice. This problem also comes from the supporting role. Why does Gong Li, the witch played by Gong Li, look for Hua Mulan on the battlefield? Why help Hua Mulan? Why die for Hua Mulan? None of these questions are answered in the film. Because she did not explain Bais motive, her death could not move the audience. This is a sensational plot point, but it can only bring embarrassment.

The clear motive of the characters is not only a logical problem, but also an emotional one. There are many kinds of so-called empathy, which can be moving, can be sad, can be hot blood after watching, can also be in the process of watching amused laugh. In general, when creating the protagonist, the main character is endowed with the function of driving the audiences emotion, so that the audience can follow the protagonists anxiety and worry about the protagonists dangerous situation. From this point of view, Hua Mulan, very clearly feel that the film in this area is insufficient, the mood of the audience can not be mobilized by Mulan.


The biggest change in the film comes from the character Hua Mulan. Mulan in the animation version is a smart and unconventional girl. She solves all the problems from her cleverness. For example, she was the first to climb to the flag pole of the strongest force in the barracks by using her brain, and also solved the crisis on the battlefield and the emperor through cleverness. Mulans own personality and understanding of herself determine her way of doing things. This makes her unique, not just as a girl among men, but as a person, unique and charming. The characters are very three-dimensional.

However, in the live action movie, in order to clearly highlight Hua Mulans uniqueness, the character is designed with Qi, which is like a super power. Mulans strength comes from her natural ability to solve problems. At first, it seems that there is no problem with this setting. So many superhero movies in Hollywood rely on super power to solve the problems. The problem with the movie is that there is no corresponding conflict and thinking about the ability matching.

In the past movies, we often see people with super ability have the responsibility to save human beings. In the early days, it was a kind of fate. For example, in Star Wars, only the Jedi with the force could defeat the emperor of the dark empire. Such fatalism is not convincing for young audiences, so now writers will try to give superheroes the motivation to save the world. For example, tonistak in iron man is to save the evil brought by his companys selling weapons. For example, spider man has been using greater ability, greater responsibility as the code of action.

However, Hua Mulan does not have these. Hua Mulan disguised herself as a man to enter the army for her fathers sake, but she did not give the reason to show her super ability. Why use super power to save others? Why save the emperor? In superhero movies, the protagonists are hiding their real identity (except iron man), because in most cases, the film will tell the audience what the consequences will be if their identity is exposed, for example, the safety of their families is threatened, or they cant live a normal life. Even Disneys Princess movie ice and snow tells how the heroines super power hurt her sister and how she fears that her power will bring disaster to others. Again, these are not found in Hua Mulan. Although Huas father told the audience through his lines that it was unsafe to expose his identity, the audience did not feel that the protagonist was unsafe. The witch with the same ability has power and strength, and has not suffered any bad experience. After Hua Mulan exposed her identity, from her comrades in arms to the emperor, she did not show her unfriendliness. Therefore, why does Hua Mulan want to hide her superpowers and then expose them easily? There is no explanation in these films. Not to mention the design of villain boss. Generally, in order to show the crisis, it can only be solved by superheroes. The villains in superhero movies are super villains that ordinary people cant fight. Events are often the level that ordinary people cant solve and can destroy the earth. The most fundamental reason for this design is to give impetus to the protagonist and make the protagonist have to act in person Motivation. Needless to say, the audience can also see that there are none of these in the real man Mulan!

Netizens commented that compared with the new live action film, the old animation version looks 10000 times better. Cant the old version be adapted for its excellence? On the contrary, the more excellent the old works are, the more times they are remade. It is still a sharp tool to attract the audience to re narrate the classic story text in the current society. The focus of this kind of adaptation is often on values - values conveyed by works decades ago may not be what audiences need most. The change of values not only exists in the adaptation of the works, but also in the works of the same theme and type in different times, and Disney itself is the same.

In contrast, the animated version of 1998 does not equate smart with female, which does not seem to highlight the female characteristics of Mulan. However, the main purpose of the film is to tell the audience that even women can win the championship through hard work and cleverness in the military camp full of men and without divine power. Because not everyone has super ability, but everyone has his own characteristics, use their own characteristics, do not envy what they do not have, you can win life. Isnt it more inspirational than relying on superpowers? Isnt it more inspiring than superpowers?


Of course, Mulan is not the first Disney animated film to be scolded by the audience. The previous Cinderella, beauty and the beast, Aladdin and Lion King (the CG version released last year was also adapted from real people), the scores of the live adapted versions on the Internet were far lower than the original animated versions. On the other hand, the audiences perception of the high rating of the film itself can not be clearly understood. Many viewers may have doubts, is the old animation not good? What as like as two peas of old anime do? Why do you want to continue shooting a movie when it is scolded by the audience? The answer to these questions lies in Disneys business model.

Film is the product closest to the real economy in the cultural industry, and the mode of making money is relatively single. The cost of shooting can be calculated clearly, and the selling price is basically fixed (movie tickets), so in order to make money, film companies must ensure that they sell as many movie tickets as possible. There are two dimensions in selling more tickets: the first is spreading the net; the second is repeatedly watching.

Hollywoods globalization is the result of long-term efforts of all parties. Political and economic means are indispensable. However, as a commodity itself, films must have many characteristics to meet the needs of international communication. First of all, the core of the story must be the most universal value, so the keywords of love, kinship, friendship, justice, effort, responsibility and bravery appear most often. Although the thinkers of cultural imperialism see the expanding American values in Hollywood films, it is undeniable that Hollywood tries its best to find resonance in every culture and try to make films accepted by local audiences as natives. The understanding of film values directly affects the understanding and emotional acceptance of the story. Secondly, the application of transparent narration in the creation makes it easy for the audience with any language, culture and religious background to understand the plot easily. Transparent narration is a conventional coding principle in Hollywood classic narration. In short, it is a complete set of film creation routines, including plays, camera moves, shooting methods, actors performances, and later soundtrack, etc. all films follow this principle to cultivate the audiences viewing Transcendence - what the audience will know after knowing a certain plot Voice out is to have a terrible thing happen, even know which characters will die. On the contrary, seeing is not only a magic weapon of transcendental desire. Now, the format of the film is seen as an unconscious mode of film creation in Los Angeles. Of course, its a symbol of victory for Hollywood.

Many people say that Disneys works are typical family gatherings. The so-called family fun is not for parents and children to watch together. What is more accurate is that children can watch and parents can watch. The difference between the two is that an important function of animation is accompany, instead of parents accompany children. This is an important magic weapon for animation to make more money than live movies.

As mentioned above, selling more tickets also allows the film to be watched over and over again.. Hollywood film distribution emphasizes multiple windows and multiple shows. Film broadcasting copyright stipulates that every time or cycle of broadcasting, a certain fee must be paid. Therefore, repeated broadcasting through different channels is a very important long-term source of income for films. Take Chinas channels as an example. For different video websites, different TV stations, and set-top boxes with VOD functions, as long as the audience watches the films, they have to pay the corresponding fees to the film owners. Although the cost of copyright is not high after the second release, it has been broadcast repeatedly in hundreds of countries and regions and dozens of broadcasting channels for decades, and the revenue from copyright fees is very considerable. We should know that Disney Company was short of funds in the early stage of filming, and had not become a film and television giant today. It relied on several early films, such as snow white and Bambi deer, which were released repeatedly in the cinema. The production cost of new films could be earned only by movie tickets. This kind of capital cycle was broken until the establishment of Disney theme park.

In this matter of repeated release, animation has inherent advantages. Adults are driven by feelings when watching old movies. However, for children, animation is animation, regardless of the new or old or language. As long as it is animation, it will naturally attract childrens attention. Of course, whether children like the old movies 50 years ago is another topic. Today, we look at the financial report of Disney Company. In its film revenue, the copyright licensing fee (referring to the image authorization to develop products) is almost the same as the broadcasting copyright income of the repeated release of the film. On the contrary, the box office of the first released film accounts for a small part of the revenue.

Writing here seems to have not solved the previous problem, since children can repeatedly watch the old animation, why do Disney have to remake it into a real life version? And still persist in questioning and swearing? The animated version of Snow White was born in 1937, and it has been more than 80 years. There are three generations between the 80 years. Even if the universal value and universal aesthetics are fully considered in the creation of the film, it is difficult to meet the needs of the current audience. Data from various platforms show that the audience of Snow White on demand is far more than that of Snow White. There is no doubt that cultural products also need iteration. How to iterate and reduce losses is more a business than a creative thought. Disneys choice of a live remake is such a business consideration.

It is not difficult to see from Disneys creation facing the world and in the next 50 years that the real-life Mulan is not a customized movie for Chinese audiences. The Chinese market has always been in the second order in Hollywoods overseas expansion. Hollywoods definition of overseas market is truly global. This is just like the Panther is not customized for the African market. Although such themes and casting are intended to serve African American audiences (this service is also part of the familiarity strategy, Hollywood is not afraid that the audience will know too much about the content of the film, or even know the story in advance, but fear that the audience will not know anything about the film), but it has no plan Broadcast in Africa.

In Hua Mulan, both the old animation version and the new real life version show the Chinese elements in the impression of foreigners, such as the Great Wall, dragon, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Tulou, terraced fields, emperor, etc., which are now called stereotype on the Internet, with obvious criticism. But for global audiences, thats how they perceive China. Hollywood has no obligation to change the perception of China for the world audience. Instead, what they have to do is serve this kind of cognition. Therefore, almost all the Chinese actors most familiar to the global audience appear in the live version of Mulan (Gong Li, Zhen Zidan, Jet Li). Because of this, films can be sold worldwide. Just as in the black panther, black people are going to bring gold ornaments and spears. It is the original sin of Hollywood globalization to show the spectacle of other non American cultures.

Real cultural output must depend on ourselves. Unfortunately, in the field of film, our overseas market expansion is not good. Hollywoods globalization has a lot to learn from. For our creators, how to make the film meet the preferences of global audiences and change its stereotype of China is the key.

(the author is an animation producer and screenwriter, and a guest lecturer in the animation Institute of Beijing Film Academy)

Source: Zhong Qiming, editor in charge of the Economic Observer_ NF5619