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The 'Boycott Mulan' movement has surged and turned online sentiment around the movie negative, according to new social-media data

mulan liu yifei
"Mulan"
Disney
  • "Mulan" is facing backlash after the end credits thanked Chinese government entities in Xinjiang that had been implicated in human-rights violations against Muslim Uighurs.
  • Nearly 43.73% of tweets about "Mulan" since September 1 have expressed a negative sentiment toward the movie, according to data-trends company SEMrush. 40.39% were positive and 15.88% were neutral.
  • "Mulan" was viewed by 1.12 million US households over the Labor Day weekend from Friday to Monday, according to analytics company Samba TV.
  • Visit Business Insider's 合约数字币和虚拟币homepage for more stories.

Disney's live-action "Mulan" remake hit Disney Plus over the weekend, igniting controversies new and old.

According to the data-trends company SEMrush, Google searches for "Boycott Mulan" increased 1,900% from the movie's release date, September 4, to September 5. There were 19,236 tweets using the hashtag "#BoycottMulan" on Twitter from September 1 to September 9. 

43.73% of tweets about "Mulan" in that time frame expressed negative sentiment, according to SEMrush. 40.39% were positive and 15.88% were neutral. The company uses machine learning models to identify whether a tweet is positive, negative, or neutral in tone. For a tweet to be negative, it had to contain a word or phrase considered negative by the model, such as "terrible," "disaster," or in this case, "boycott Mulan."

Calls to boycott the movie were reignited ahead of its release last week because its star, Liu Yifei, had shared a post to Chinese social network Weibo last August in support of Hong Kong police during the city's pro-democracy protests. At the time, "#BoycottMulan" was trending on Twitter.

A new controversy erupted after the movie's release, as the end credits thanked government entities in China's Xinjiang region that had been implicated in human-rights violations against Muslim Uighurs. Parts of the movie were filmed in the region.

Amid the controversy, "Mulan" was viewed by 1.12 million US households over the Labor Day weekend from Friday to Monday, according to analytics company Samba TV, which measures connected TV devices like smart TVs and Roku, but not mobile or laptop viewing. 

Disney Plus subscribers could purchase the movie at an additional $30 fee (it will be available to all subscribers at no additional cost in December). Samba TV estimates that it earned at least $33.5 million, along with the $6 million it has grossed from international box office in markets where theaters are open (per Box Office Mojo). 

"Mulan" opens this weekend in China, where it was expected to be a hit before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, things are less clear. Warner Bros.' "Tenet" offers a glimpse at how a big-budget movie could fare in the region, though, as it earned $30 million in its opening weekend there.

SEE ALSO: 'Mulan' viewership data from connected TVs provide a snapshot of how much money it made in its first weekend on Disney Plus

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