Walt Disney Co’s live-action remake of “Mulan” opened on Thursday to a lacklustre reception in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy activists have been leading calls to boycott the movie.
Based on a Chinese folk story, the film has provoked a backlash in the Chinese-ruled city and elsewhere over its star’s comments of support for Hong Kong police during protests last year and for being partly filmed in the Xinjiang region.
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and internet users in Taiwan and Thailand have been among those promoting hashtags “#BoycottMulan” and “#BanMulan” on Twitter, following this month’s launch of the film on Disney’s streaming platform.
At a popular theatre in Mong Kong district, seating arrangements for upcoming “Mulan” screenings appeared sparsely populated even with coronavirus restrictions, according to seating plans for customers displayed at the theatre’s reception.
Cinemas across the territory are currently only allowed to operate at half capacity of customers for screenings.
Internationally, the criticism has focused on the movie being partly filmed in Xinjiang, where China’s clamp-down on ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims has been criticised by some governments and rights groups.
In Hong Kong, the star of the movie, mainland Chinese-born actress Liu Yifei, has angered democracy supporters after showing support for Hong Kong police in a social media post last year saying: “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all hit me. What a shame for Hong Kong”.
Mulan also had a cold reception in mainland China, where Chinese authorities had told major media outlets not to cover the film’s release in the wake of the uproar.