2019 seems to be the year that Disney fully saturated the market with its “live-action” remakes of classic animated films. In 2019 alone, films like “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and soon, “Lady and the Tramp” will be released worldwide. And 2020 looks to show no signs of slowing down, led by “Mulan” in March. But it’s “Mulan” that is leading to the first real controversy for Disney’s latest films, as the remake has become the centerpiece in a political debate between Hong Kong and China.
Last week, we reported about how “Mulan” remake star Liu Yifei sparked controversy in Hong Kong, as the actress seemingly shared her support for the Chinese government in its attempt to silence protesters in Hong Kong. The controversy stems from the fact that reports show that the protesters have been met with violence and force from the Chinese officials. Since Liu’s post, #BoycottMulan has been gaining steam.
But now, as reported by Variety, the protesters aren’t the only ones using Disney’s upcoming film as ammunition. The report claims that the Chinese government has been using the state-controlled media, as well as social media bots, in an attempt to counter the protesters by starting the #SupportMulan campaign.
Variety used tweets to show that bots have been sharing memes about the film, including one where the remake’s poster featuring Liu has been altered to read “Loyalty” on the blade. Other memes are more typical, showing screengrabs from the animated original.
While this is definitely raising the profile of Disney’s film, as “Mulan” earns international headlines, this is likely not the promotion the studio was hoping for. It’s one thing if Hong Kong protesters as people to boycott the film, but it’s entirely another if the Communist country that is currently embroiled in contentious trade negotiations with the US is using bots to support “Mulan.”
As of now, there’s no telling how this might affect the film and its box office potential.
— Kenny (@9doSeKh5rLwWdR8) August 17, 2019
#SupportMulan Some Chinese-Americans love their
homeland, while some Chinese(like rebels) have another heart of selling their motherland. Mulan is the character of China, Mulan must be deduced by an actress who love China!
— Ava (@longagocy) August 17, 2019