Today, Disney announced that the company’s revenue for the last quarter was lower than expected: at $11.87 billion, the amount dropped 42% when compared to 2019 revenue. Then, the corporate entertainment juggernaut announced that for an additional charge of $30, Mulan would be released for streaming on Disney+ on September 4th, bypassing movie theaters in many countries, including the United States and Canada.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the news in a meeting with investors. Chapek had previously been the head of Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products segment – in 2019, the fastest growing division of Disney. Last year, this segment totaled 37% of the company’s total revenue.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a debilitating effect on Disney’s theme parks. Disneyland, the company’s flagship amusement park in Anaheim, California, has been closed since March 13th, 2020.
Prior to 2020, since opening in July 1955, the park had only been closed for three days: the national day of mourning after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the day of the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, and on September 11th, 2001.
Meanwhile, some of Disney’s parks in other parts of the world – including Walt Disney World in Florida – have reopened, albeit at reduced capacity. And while the park in Hong Kong did reopen, it has already been necessary for it to close once again. Nevertheless, the net adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company’s revenue was estimated to be roughly $2.9 billion.
Attaching a $30 price tag for the ability to stream Mulan may be a way for the company to offset some of its losses while still earning more revenue than the default Disney+ subscription.
Mulan was originally scheduled for release on March 27th, 2020. Now, in countries where Disney+ is currently unavailable but movie theaters are in operation Mulan is scheduled for release on the big screen on September 4th, the same day it will be available for paid streaming on Disney+ elsewhere.
If this strategy proves successful for Mulan, can we expect other high profile COVID-19-delayed releases like Black Widow and – dare I type it – New Mutants to be released in a similar fashion?
Well, may as well sit around and wait to find out. Leaving the house is not a great idea right now. I heard you can’t even visit Disneyland!