Disney+’s ‘Cruella’ Outperformed By ‘Mulan’ and ‘Army of the Dead’?


I was quite looking forward to Cruella. Yes, in a positive way. Press was going around that it would finally put a gay character in a position that couldn’t be easily erased.

The visual style looked interesting. The costume designs were fresh and fun. Emma Stone looked like a far classier version of Harley Quinn than what DC has given us on film so far. She appeared to be having fun in the role. In a way that lacks all my usual cynicism, I was hoping for the best.

Then the Dog Genital Cam (TM) scene happened, and the movie turned into a meme.

Sadly, there’s more bad news for Disney’s Cruella. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the film failed to match not only Mulan‘s numbers from last year but also Zach Snyder’s big, dumb, direct-to-video-looking Army of the Dead.

Deadline showed off the numbers, and they are not pretty. During the Labor Day weekend of 2020, Mulan scored 1.12 million viewers in the US. What did Cruella pull in during this year’s holiday weekend? 686K. A drop of almost 39%. Both films were also premium releases, commanding a $29.99 cost to own them during the premiere.

What was it that Mulan had that Cruella lacked? Mulan didn’t live up to her animated counterpart on many levels and had some hilarious action sequences that were as baffling as the dalmatians attack mommy scene. Maybe it was the fact that Mulan was Disney+’s first premium film? Maybe it was marketing? Maybe because Mulan was a hero, and Cruella was that madwoman who wanted skin puppies?

Disney was quick to point out that something was indeed at play attributed to the falling viewership, choice. Yes, since theatres and streaming services are a bit fuller in regards to content than they were during the thralls of the pandemic, people had more choices during Memorial Day weekend, according to a Disney spokesperson.

“Memorial Day weekend marked the first time consumers have had substantial choice in movie viewing since the onset of the pandemic. Cruella’s strong combined showing in theaters around the world and on Disney+ with Premier Access illustrates that flexibility at this time is critical and that the overall demand for great content is strong.

The salt in the wound came when Netflix released the viewership numbers for Zach Snyder’s Army of the Dead. Deadline also reported on this. Within just four weeks, the film about zombies sanctioned off inside Las Vegas garnered 72 million viewers worldwide.

I tried to watch it. Honest. My wife tapped out at the 10-minute mark. I remained confused for another 15 minutes thinking that the movie looked like the low-budget indie flicks I used to review all the time in the 2000s. What a strange world we live in.

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