Why Disney’s Original “Mulan” Doesn’t Include Chinese Buddhism

The disney original Mulan is one of the most famous Hollywood movies in China, however, it refuses to explore the rich history of Chinese Buddhism. There is a very specific reason for this. Here’s what the film’s co-director Tony Bancroft said about the role of spirituality in the film and his career.

The Magic Kingdom | Mark Ashman / Disney Parks via Getty Images

Disney director reveals why he “didn’t pay too much attention to Buddhist beliefs” in original “Mulan”

Mulan is a film about a young woman who dresses up to enter the Chinese army. Interestingly, Bancroft told the Christian Post that the movie’s message resonated with Christians. “The theme of the movie is ‘be true to yourself’, and that’s what Mulan’s journey has been, and that’s what I wanted to give my daughters,” he said. “Even Christians should be true to themselves and not be ‘saved’ by their friends, but be true to the values ​​they stand for in their own lives. “

In fact, Bancroft decided not to incorporate Buddhism into the film because of his Christian beliefs. “We did a lot of research to be culturally accurate and being Christians we made a pact that we wouldn’t go too far in Buddhism but stay true to our own beliefs,” he said. The film has a certain spirituality as the ghost of Mulan’s ancestors appears in the film as a sort of Greek choir. However, Bancroft did not take this seriously. “Ancestors are meant to be fun, light, so that we don’t pay too much attention to Buddhist beliefs and history.”

A for the Disney original Mulan

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Over time, spirituality has become a much more important part of Bancroft’s career. “I did a lot of different things: after leaving Disney, I started my own animation company with friends of mine that focused exclusively on family entertainment,” he revealed. “It was a direct result of the feeling of using the capacity that I had from God to use this profession and this animation for God.”

The major impact of the original Disney “Mulan”

By choosing not to explore Chinese Buddhism in Mulan, Bancroft ignored much of Chinese spirituality, culture, and history. However, this erasure did not prevent the film from becoming a commercial success. According to Box Office Mojo, Mulan earned $ 22 million in its nationwide opening weekend. In addition, he earned over $ 304 million worldwide.

How Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Became a Franchise

Next, Mulan has become a sustainable franchise. He inspired a direct-to-video sequel called Mulan II and a theatrical adaptation entitled Mulan jr. Mulan also appeared as a character in the series Once upon a time, which includes many characters from Disney animated films.

A trailer for the Mulan remake

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More recently, Bancroft’s Mulan inspired the remake of the same name. Box Office Mojo reports that the remake has grossed over $ 66 million, even though it was released during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The Mulan the franchise is a popular representation of China, although it does not represent all of Chinese culture.

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