Disney (DIS) Alters Movie Release Dates, Boosts Disney+ Suite

Zacks Equity Research

Disney DIS has reshuffled its upcoming movie release dates with Mulan now set to open on Jul 24 followed by Jungle Cruise on Jul 30. Much-anticipated Marvel Studios’ Black Widow is scheduled for Nov 6 while The Eternals will hit the theaters on Feb 12, 2021.

However, Artemis Fowl will not be released in theaters. The action movie based on characters created by Eoin Colfer will be exclusively available on Disney+.

Notably, on Mar 19 in an 8K filing, Disney announced that it delayed the theatrical distribution of films both domestically and internationally due to the coronavirus outbreak. Black Widow and Mulan were among the movies Disney postponed.

Coronavirus Dents Disney’s Prospects

The coronavirus outbreak is hurting Disney’s businesses. Shares have plunged 35.1% on a year-to-date basis, outperforming the industry’s decline of 36.3%.

The Walt Disney Company Price and Consensus

The Walt Disney Company Price and Consensus

The Walt Disney Company price-consensus-chart | The Walt Disney Company Quote


Disney, which has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), continues to suffer losses from the closure of its theme parks and cruise ships. Cancellation of sports events is expected to affect its ESPN business.

Disney kept California and Florida parks closed for an indefinite period. The company also shuttered its Paris resort due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in mid-March. Its theme parks in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo too remain closed since late January in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which had its epicenter in China.

The media conglomerate expects the coronavirus outbreak and the precautionary measures taken to prevent its spread including quarantines and lockdowns to not only dampen its financial and operational results but also alter consumer behaviour that can ruin its long-term prospects.

Management stated that it is difficult to estimate the near-to-medium term performance of its businesses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak. Disney also experienced its negative impact on ad sales similar to social media companies like Twitter TWTR and Facebook FB.

Notably, Twitter withdrew its revenue and operating income guidance for the first quarter of 2020 due to the growing adverse impact of coronavirus on the global operating and economic environment as well as on advertiser demand. Facebook admitted that its ad business took a huge beating in countries severely hit by the novel coronavirus. (Read More: Coronavirus Hits Ad Sales of Facebook, Twitter and Others)

Disney+’s Solid Content Portfolio to Aid User Growth

Disney has been bolstering Disney+ content portfolio to gain users currently on lockdown triggered by the pandemic-related physical distancing norm. Solid content portfolio is also expected to help Disney pose a challenge to Netflix NFLX, Apple TV+ and Amazon prime video in the streaming space.

Apart from the upcoming Artemis Fowl, Disney launched Frozen 2, three months ahead of schedule on Disney+ in the United States on Mar 15. Disney and Pixar’s Onward is also available on Disney+ from Apr 3 onward.

Moreover, Disney+ launch in India is expected to benefit Disney from the ongoing social-distancing trend and the coronavirus-related 21-day lockdown across the country. The company also unveiled Disney+ in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland with compromised picture quality.

Notably, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon prime video downgraded their video quality to ease the pressure on the Internet as well as facilitate work-from-home regime and online-learning routine in the current confinement situation across the coronavirus-plagued European continent. (Read More: Facebook Cuts Video Streaming Quality in Coronavirus-Hit Europe)

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