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The Entertainment Crisis

Covid-19, better known as the coronavirus, has the world firmly in its grip. And the Walt Disney Corporation is no exception here. Like all other entertainment companies Disney is facing stiff challenges, challenges that may, to a certain degree, also affect Star Wars. Movie releases get postponed, most theaters in the US are closed anyway, worldwide most countries have shut down all movie theaters, tv and streaming series productions are on hold, theme parks are closed, Disney cruises are shut down at least for another two weeks. But chances are the crisis won’t be over in two weeks and that whatever counter measures are in effect now will still be in effect in April and maybe even May and June. First analysts theorize that now may be the perfect time for Apple to buy Disney, Disney’s stock price is falling and it will most likely continue to fall. So what exactly is going on right now and what does it mean for us, the consumers? Click through for more details!

Mickey Mouse is panicking

Mickey Mouse has seen happier days

The coronavirus counter measures hit Disney will full force. 2020 will be a terrible year for the company. Of course Disney is not alone, all the entertainment giants in Hollywood and elsewhere are suffering.

Box office in the US is down to record lows, movie theaters in many countries around the world are shut down for the foreseeable future. Movie releases get postponed. Movies currently in production are put on hold, and tv/streaming shows are also on hold.

Disney alone had to postpone the release for Mulan, Black Widow, New Mutants and a few other things like a new David Copperfield movie. Production for the Marvel movie Shang-Chi has been put on hold, all the upcoming Marvel Disney+ series are not filming either. While the Marvel shows could still be finished in time for their scheduled release date, release dates could be pushed back if the situation is not resolved quickly and filming cannot be resumed.

That could create some issues for Disney+, since the strongest selling points are the various high profile exclusive shows. If most or almost all of them come at a later date it will create a vacuum. Because old shows and old movies will only get you so many new customers.

Fortunately, Mandalorian season 2 wrapped filming shortly before the coronavirus disrupted things. The show is now in post production, unless Lucasfilm shuts down as well post production should be finished in time for the planned October release. The Cassian Andor show was scheduled to begin filming in June. It remains to be seen if the situation is back to normal by June and filming can begin. If not then the exclusive Star Wars series may see further delays. Kenobi is delayed anyway and should not be affected.

ABC has stopped production of various shows as  well, Grey’s Anatomy being one of them. And ESPN will have little to talk about with most sporting events cancelled or delayed. This will most certainly result in much lower advertising revenue from both networks.

Disney’s revenue in 2020 will be seriously affected and they will make several billion USD less this year than in 2019. The only good news is that Disney, like all the other entertainment studios, could quickly recover. Movie releases are only postponed, not outright cancelled. And while production of 2021 blockbusters may be affected if things don’t improve any time soon, the studios could always release their 2020 blockbusters in 2021 instead. That would mean 2020 will have no blockbuster season, but as things are now (most) theaters will be closed anyway.

Universal goes a different route, they will release a few current movies on their streaming platform in the coming days. You will have to pay a hefty $20 for a current movie, it remains to be seen how successful that will be.

Is it possible Disney will be forced to release something like Black Widow on Disney+ instead of in theaters? If streaming services like Disney+ won’t get new content in the next several weeks and months studios may be tempted to release several things early on their digital platforms. Disney will certainly closely look at Universal’s strategy. Frozen II was released on Disney+ much sooner than originally scheduled, but that movie had its very successful theatrical run already.

And then there are falling stock prices. Some analysts already muse that now (or soon, once stock prices drop even more) Apple may buy Disney. Apple has a lot of extra cash on hand, if stock prices continue to drop they may even be able to pay for Disney in cash. Apple/Disney would be one colossal multimedia entertainment giant. But of course this is just speculation by some analysts, no one really knows what Apple’s plans are.

As things are now we should get used to the idea that we may not get a lot of new entertainment, movies and tv shows in the coming weeks or months and that upcoming seasons of various shows may either get delayed or will have fewer episodes. So watching reruns of favorite shows may be what we’ll have to do to pass the time.

And then there’s Bob Iger’s resignation as CEO of Disney. That man is smart. Did he know the corona crisis would seriously affect Disney (it was always to be expected that corona would not be limited to China) and did he think that he really doesn’t want to be CEO anymore in what may be Disney’s worst year in a long, long time?

So, what will you do when there are only few new movies and shows to watch? Watch reruns? Play board games with your family? Re-arrange your Star Wars shelves? And what would you think if Apple did actually buy Disney and became the new Star Wars overlord?


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