The Walt Disney Company was brutalized by the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered its parks and delayed its films, resulting in losses and nearly halving its revenues during its most recent fiscal quarter.
Revenues fell 40% to $11.7 billion, while diluted earnings per share for the quarter decreased 94% to 8 cents, falling from a gain of $1.34 in the prior-year period. Wall Street had projected revenues of $12.39 billion on adjusted losses per share of 63 cents. The collapse of the theme park business was largely to blame, resulting in a $3.5 billion hit.
The rough financial report happened to coincide with one of the most challenging periods in the entertainment giant’s decades-long history. Few media companies have been as hard hit by COVID-19 as Disney, which relies heavily on live events and experiences to pad its bottom line.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought Disney’s theatrical film business to a standstill. Upcoming blockbusters such as “Black Widow” and “Mulan” have been pushed back by months and may not hit theaters until after the virus dies down. The company has begun slowly reopening its parks in Florida, Paris, and Tokyo, although social-distancing requirements has limited the number of guests. Its Disneyland Park in California remains closed.
Those aren’t the only drags on Disney’s core businesses. Film and television production has been shut down, forcing several of its shows and movies to be postponed. Moreover, sports teams have only just started to play again, depriving ESPN of core programming and leading to a drop in advertising.
Disney Plus, the streaming service the company launched in November, has been one bright spot. A filmed version of “Hamilton” led to a spike in subscribers when it premiered in July. The company touted its 57.5 million subscribers.
More to come…
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