It’s been four weeks since Forward hit movie theaters, and on Friday, Disney (NYSE: DIS) animation has become the latest addition to its growing Disney + catalog. In theme park news, Disney announced Thursday afternoon that it will lay off non-executive, salaried and unionized hourly workers at its two national stations on April 19.
In the absence of clear visibility into when its theme parks will once again entertain guests, Disney makes the difficult decision to cut financial ties with its displaced workforce. It will continue to provide health coverage – for the time being – but again, Disney is moving “forward” after facing another curve course.
Rolling around with the changes
Forward has never had a chance at the local multiplex with its release date of March 6. Concerns about coronaviruses were starting to creep in, making families reluctant to go on social outings. It was the best national draw in the two weekends, but Forward increased just $ 61.6 million in ticket sales. It will go down in history as Pixar’s biggest theatrical flop, with a single heavy load to follow.
The decision to quickly switch to digital distribution makes sense. Disney chose to make the film available for digital purchase on March 20, cashing in on all of the money it had invested in marketing the animated feature film via computer. He could have stayed on the film for a few months, waiting for the cinemas to reopen, but would moviegoers have been numerous to see a film that had already hit the big screen earlier in the year?
The incentive to add the film to Disney + only two weeks after the digital release will be a little more questionable from a financial perspective. This could be the entertainment that home-bound families need right now, but knowing that it would be available on the streaming platform at the aggressive price of $ 6.99 per month has likely contributed to the digital sales over for the past two weeks. If you are a big enough Disney fan to buy Forward in digital version, you were probably already subscribed to Disney +.
The news follows on Disney’s extended paid leave for employees for the second time since Disney World and Disneyland closed in mid-March. Just as cinemas are not available as a source of income for Forward, theme parks are no longer available as a revenue generator for Disney to keep track of paychecks indefinitely. No one knows when the crisis will end, and continuing to pay for health insurance and the benefits of post-secondary education is a good overview of an otherwise bleak picture for the theme and amusement industry.
With economists now generally unanimous in calling for a global recession, Disney’s biggest concern is not a film that has flopped for exhibitors, or even how long its iconic theme parks will remain closed. The big unknown is now what the economy will be like when your local multiplex and the Disney theme park start popcorn again. Will people still be able to afford a Disney getaway? Will even the two-hour escape from a theater trip be considered a frivolous budget consideration? Disney moves Forward and further – and it is better to hope that the economy is ready to move forward too.