Mulan, Disney’s live-action film that the company opted to release for premium viewing on Disney+ last month, was among the top 10 subscription video-on-demand titles in terms of total minutes watched in its first weekend of availability on the streaming service.
In its first three days on the service, the movie—a remake of the popular 1998 animated classic—was viewed for 525 million minutes, according to Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 List of SVOD programs.
The metric provides some context around the success of the film, which Disney released through its fast-growing subscription service after its theatrical debut was delayed three times due to Covid-19-related theater closures. Unlike the other titles on Nielsen’s Top 10 list, required Disney+ subscribers to pony up $29.99 to watch the film, which was released on Sept. 4.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at the time that Mulan’s release was a pandemic-induced experiment, but the results hadn’t previously been measurable. (Disney has not yet released information about the popularity of the title, leading to some speculation about how successful the experiment was.)
The data, which comes from Nielsen’s national TV panel spanning from Aug. 31 through Sept. 6, isn’t exact. Taking the film’s 115-minute runtime into account, the 525 million minutes viewed breaks down into 4.57 million complete views of the film. Viewers aren’t guaranteed to watch a program all the way through, however—and premium viewers are able to watch the film as many times as they’d like. (Nielsen’s figures also do not account for viewership that happens on mobile devices.)
But it still highlights that the title was able to cut through an otherwise cluttered streaming space. Whether or not it was a lasting surge of interest, though, remains unclear. On Tuesday, the film will become available to watch at a premium $29.99 for non-Disney+ subscribers on transactional video-on-demand platforms like FandangoNOW and Vudu.
Mulan’s inclusion in Nielsen’s Top 10 list marks the first time that a non-Netflix title has broken through on Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 subscription video titles. In fact, there were two that broke through in the first week of September: Amazon Prime Video’s popular dark superhero series The Boys took the No. 3 spot that week, with viewers watching any of the series’ 11 episodes for 891 million minutes.
Aside from Mulan and The Boys, Netflix remains the dominant force in terms of total minutes spent viewing. In the week of Aug. 31 through Sept. 6, Cobra Kai, the spinoff series of The Karate Kid movies originally made for YouTube Premium, was the most-viewed program on SVOD by far, with 2.17 billion minutes viewed. (As of this week, the title remains in the Top 10 most popular TV shows on Netflix, according to the streamer’s own metrics.) The second most popular show was Netflix series Lucifer, with 1.4 billion minutes spent watching the program that week, per Nielsen.
Not unexpectedly, library shows like The Office, Criminal Minds, Shameless and Grey’s Anatomy also did well, clocking in at the No. 4, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 8 most watched spots that week, respectively.