“Mulan” and Hollywood’s Challenges in Pleasing Chinese Audiences

The teaser trailer for Disney’s live-action movie Mulan has sparked a lot of discussion on Chinese social media since it was released in early July. The one-and-a-half minute teaser drew hundreds of thousands of comments on Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

Many netizens say they are “satisfied” with the appearance of the first Chinese Disney princess, as well as the settings, costumes and make-up from the teaser, while others are not so happy with the rewriting of the story and the loss of some characters from the 1998 animated movie such as the little dragon Mushu.

So what do Chinese audiences care about most when it comes to a Hollywood-produced China story? Why are people especially sensitive over the appearance of the actors who play the leading Chinese characters in overseas films? And what skills could China’s film industry learn from Hollywood to attract young audiences to traditional stories?