$30 to watch ‘Mulan’ on Disney+ is either outrageous or an amazing deal, depending on who you ask


Disney’s decision to release its live-action “Mulan” movie on Disney+ for a $30 fee has split audiences into two camps. They include those furious about being charged three Hamiltons to watch something on a service that they are already paying for, when other releases (like, well, “Hamilton”) are included in the subscription price. And then there are those who say $30 is a lot less than they would have spent to bring their families to a theater to see the film in pre-pandemic times. 

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Chief Executive Bob Chapek explained in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that “Mulan” will stream on Disney+ on Sept. 4 in areas where movie theaters remain closed over coronavirus concerns. It will still open in theaters in areas where cinemas are open, however. And the $29.99 fee is not a one-time rental; Disney+ users will be able to watch the big-budget action movie as much as they want for as long as they are subscribed to the streaming service. So it’s essentially paying to own the movie — as long as you remain a Disney+ subscriber. 

“We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters, while also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of a Disney+ subscription,” he said.

Read more:Disney shakes up streaming approach after losing nearly $5 billion due to pandemic

But many people can’t get past the sticker-shock of paying $30 for a film during a pandemic that has cost more than 150,000 Americans their lives, and millions more their livelihoods. Besides, they’re already dropping $7 a month (or $70 a year) for Disney+. “What is Disney smoking to think I’d pay $30 to see ‘Mulan’ on a streaming service that costs me $8 a month,” tweeted one disgruntled customer.

Still others noted that $30 is less than it would cost to bring a family of four to a blockbuster movie before, especially when factoring in the price of snacks, gas, parking or baby-sitters for younger kids. The average U.S. movie ticket was $9.16 last year, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners, although they can run considerably higher in some cities. For example, a family of four (two parents, two children) in the greater New York City area would pay closer to $41.65 for a night at the movies, not counting snacks, according to ValuePenguin’s calculations. Tickets for adults at an AMC theater on the upper West Side were close to $18 apiece. 

Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger wrote in a note that he saw both sides. “Certainly, $30 for a family is significantly less expensive than it would cost to take that family to see this movie in a theater,” he said. “On the other hand, the marginal cost of watching some other movie on Disney+ or Netflix
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is ‘zero.’ Or framed differently, a consumer could receive almost a half-year of Hulu SVOD ad-supported, or Disney+ at the annual discounted rate, for the same price as watching Mulan once.” 

Read more:Disney’s streaming changes have ‘built a big enough life raft’ to get through pandemic, analysts say as stock spikes

Disney’s “Mulan” move also has some viewers wondering about the future of other films with releases pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Marvel’s “Black Widow.” Chapek said that “‘Mulan’ is a one-off” during the Tuesday call. “That said, we find it very interesting to be able to … learn from it and see what happens, not only in terms of the uptake of the number of subscribers that we get on the platform but the actual number of transactions on the Disney Plus platform that we get.”

But Robert Thompson, a pop-cultural historian and director of the Bleier Center for TV & Pop Culture at Syracuse University, told MarketWatch that the move away from catching new releases in traditional cinemas to streaming them on-demand at home was already well underway before the pandemic. “This was all going to happen anyway,” he said. “The only thing this quarantine and this virus has done is accelerate the complete takeover of the digital distribution of content.” 

And he noted that if you look at how movies are normally released, the number of tickets they expect to sell, and how many people are probably going to gather around a single streaming device at home to watch “Mulan,” then the $30 price isn’t so surprising. 

“However, the average person is not going to do the math, and when you are presented with a product and a price tag, you are not going to do a cost-benefit analysis from the industry standpoint before you decide to get upset or not,” he said. “And a lot of people think they already paid for Disney+ and the amazing library it’s going to open up to them — but now they have to not only pay more to get ‘Mulan,’ but it’s a lot more than several months of the subscription fee!” 

And this sort of blowback is something that streaming services will have to sort out as they experiment with how much to charge for movies and documentaries that go straight to streaming. One early success story includes Universal Pictures’
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“Trolls World Tour” earlier in the pandemic, which was released to video-on-demand for $20. It grossed nearly $100 million, making it the biggest digital movie release ever. Jon Stewart’s political comedy “Irresistible,” starring Steve Carrell, also pivoted to premiering via premium video-on-demand last month, dropping on Amazon Prime
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and FandangoNow
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to rent for around $19.99. 

But “Mulan” is going for $30, which Thompson suggests could advertise that it’s a premium title. “It’s an experiment. What we’re watching develop before our very eyes is the industry figuring out how much they could charge for this kind of giant picture,” Thompson said. “What Disney is doing now is feeling out whether the market will support that $30 price — listening to how many complaints they get, but more importantly, seeing how many people actually put down the $30.

“And a lot of people out there, despite all of the grumbling they’re doing … they’re gonna have a house full of kids who want to see ‘Mulan,’” he added.

Disney shares have been down 11.77% this year compared to a 4.68% decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
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and a 3% gain for S&P 500 Index
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AstraZeneca in first COVID-19 vaccine deal with Chinese company By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Roxanne Liu and Ludwig Burger

BEIJING/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products (SZ:) will produce AstraZeneca Plc’s (L:) potential COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China, the British drugmaker said on Thursday, its first deal to supply one of the world’s most populous countries.

The deal underscores Astra’s frontrunner position in a global race to deliver an effective vaccine, given that Chinese ventures are leading at least eight of the 26 global vaccine development projects currently testing on humans.

Under the agreement Shenzhen Kangtai, one of China’s top vaccine makers, will ensure it has annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental shot AZD1222, which AstraZeneca co-developed with researchers at Oxford University, by the end of this year, AstraZeneca said.

The Shenzhen-based company must have capacity to produce at least 200 million doses by the end of next year as part of the exclusive framework agreement, its statement on the Chinese social media site WeChat said.

The two companies will also explore the possibility of cooperation on the vaccine candidate in other markets, AstraZeneca said.

They did not respond to requests for further comment.

There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

AstraZeneca has signed manufacturing deals globally including the United States, Britain, South Korea and Brazil, resulting in a target to make more than 2 billion doses of the vaccine.

For China, this marks another major deal to secure access to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by a foreign company as the country’s other potential shots under development enter late stage of human trials.

Other collaborations between Chinese and Western players include a tie-up between Germany’s BioNTech (O:) and Fosun (SS:) (HK:), as well as one between Inovio Pharma (O:) and Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology.

The scramble for treatments and vaccines to curb the pandemic has boosted global pharmaceutical companies’ shares, particularly those in China.

Shenzhen Kangtai’s market value has surged almost 90% to about $20 billion over the past month, with shares hitting all-time highs on Tuesday. The Shenzhen-listed stock was down 10% on Thursday.

In 2019, the company, whose main products are vaccines for Hepatitis B, flu and measles and rubella, reported net profits of 574.5 million yuan ($82.68 million) on revenue of 1.94 billion.

(This story corrects profit figure in final paragraph)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Asian Stocks Up, U.S. Congress Under Pressure to Reach Stimulus Deal By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asian stocks were mostly up on Wednesday morning, despite pressure mounting on the U.S. Congress to reach a consensus over the country’s latest stimulus package.

U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that the goal is to strike a deal on legislation by the end of the week, but it remains to be seen whether Republicans and Democrats can reach an agreement on the package’s price tag.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and China are reported to be meeting via videoconference on August 15 to assess their phase one trade deal, as well as discuss mutual grievances.

Shana Sissel, chief investment officer at Spotlight Asset Group Inc., told Bloomberg that the outcome of the talks will be key for markets.

“China really hasn’t been able to meet their hurdles to be in compliance with phase one of the trade deal” because of COVID-19, and rhetoric on both sides is set to increase as the U.S. election nears, she added.

Meanwhile, there are almost 18.5 million COVID-19 cases globally as of August 5, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Stocks aren’t cheap broadly speaking,” Michael Cuggino, president at Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds Inc., told Bloomberg.

“I would probably recommend some sort of consolidation, some sort of retracement because I think the values have just gotten over extended.”

China’s rose by 0.29% by 11:30 PM ET (4:30 AM GMT) while the was up 0.14%. The country reported slower growth in the service sector earlier in the day with a of 54.1 in July, compared to June’s 58.4 figure.

Japan’s was down 0.28% and South Korea’s jumped 1.01%

Down Under, the fell 0.48%. Queensland state closed its border with New South Wales on Wednesday, with other states also imposing restrictions as the country continues to fight a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Hong Kong’s gained 0.93%.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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China, U.S. to review trade deal, air other grievances on August 15: sources By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter in Shanghai

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. and Chinese officials will review the implementation of their Phase 1 trade deal and likely air mutual grievances in an increasingly tense relationship during an Aug. 15 videoconference, two people familiar with the plans said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the principal negotiators for the two countries, will participate in the meeting, an initial six-month review of the pact activated on Feb. 15.

The meeting plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the U.S. Treasury did not respond to requests for comment.

Under the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, China had pledged to boost purchases of U.S. goods by some $200 billion over 2017 levels, including agricultural and manufactured products, energy and services.

But China, battered by the global coronavirus recession, is far behind the pace needed to meet its first-year goal of a $77 billion increase. Imports of farm goods have been lower than the 2017 level, far behind the 50% increase needed to meet the 2020 target of $36.5 billion.

Beijing has bought only 5% of the energy products needed to meet the Phase 1 first year goal of $25.3 billion

One of the people familiar with the plans said Chinese officials hoped to discuss other issues beyond the Phase 1 trade deal implementation.

“It’s both the normal semi-annual review and also comes at a time when the relationship continues to deteriorate. Naturally there is much to discuss,” the person said.

China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said on Tuesday that there was always a plan for high-level consultations six months into the pact, but the two sides have remained in regular contact over the trade deal.

“If they do have such a meeting I guess it will be very positive,” Cui told a virtual event sponsored by the Aspen Security Forum.

Trump has threatened to end the trade pact over China’s handling of the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, and tensions have risen over U.S. sanctions related to China’s security crackdown on Hong Kong.

The latest irritant between the world’s two largest economies is Trump’s threat to ban U.S. use of the Chinese-owned video app TikTok unless it is sold to a non-Chinese buyer.

White House officials on Tuesday could not say how Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. Treasury get a significant portion of the proceeds of the sale – potentially to U.S. software giant Microsoft (O:) – could be implemented.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Kuwaiti lessor Alafco reaches deal with Boeing in 737 MAX dispute By Reuters


© Reuters. Boeing 737 Max aircraft are parked in a parking lot at Boeing Field in this aerial photo over Seattle

DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwaiti aircraft leasing company Alafco (KW:) will buy fewer aircraft from Boeing (N:) after reaching an agreement to end its legal claim over a cancelled 737 MAX order, it said on Tuesday.

Alafco was suing the U.S. planemaker for $336 million over accusations it wrongly refused to return advance payments on a cancelled order for 40 of its troubled 737 MAX planes.

The Kuwaiti lessor will now buy 20 aircraft from Boeing, instead of 40, with new delivery dates, it said in a bourse filing.

Additional details of the agreement could not be disclosed due to confidentiality clauses, it said.

Alafco said it was “looking forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with Boeing.”

Alafco did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. Boeing declined comment.

Boeing suspended deliveries of its narrow-body 737 MAX jet in March last year, when the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the aircraft after the deaths of 346 people in crashes of two 737 MAX planes operated by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.

The crisis over the grounding of the once top-selling 737 MAX has cost the U.S. planemaker more than $19 billion, slashed production and hobbled its supply chain, with criminal and congressional investigations still ongoing.

Alafco’s owners include Kuwait Finance House (KW:), Gulf Investment Corporation and state airline Kuwait Airways, according to its website.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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