This week The Walt Disney Company held its earnings call to discuss the first three months of 2020. As was expected, the company is taking a fairly substantial financial hit due to the coronavirus. In fact, Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared that the company has taken a $1.4 billion hit to its profit. However, not everything was bad news. During the call, it was announced that Shanghai Disneyland will be reopening on May 11th. Plans are also being worked on for safe reopenings of other Disney parks. It was also announced that Disney+ has 54.5 million subscribers as of May 4th. This comes just a few days shy of Disney+ reaching the six-month mark.
Disney originally projected that it would take five years for the streaming service to reach between 60 to 80 million subscribers. Now, that mark is getting closer on the horizon. This comes as Disney+ is set to be launched in Japan in June. In September Disney+ will launch in Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, and the Nordic countries. This will be followed by Latin America at the end of the year. For comparison, Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007 and now has 182 global subscribers.
Disney+ isn’t the only streaming service that is growing, however. Hulu has grown 1.7 million subscribers since the end of last year to 32.1 million subscribers. Due to the coronavirus and the stress it has put on Disney, Chapek said that currently there are no plans for Hulu to expand internationally in the near future.
Chapek also announced that for now there are no plans to release any other theatrical films to Disney+ beyond Artemis Fowl on June 12. Mulan is still slated to arrive in theaters on July 24th and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow on November 6. Pixar’s Soul is scheduled for November 20. Chapek did leave room for changes though.
“We very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience overall to launch blockbuster movies,” he said. “But we also realize that, either because of changing and evolving consumer dynamics, or because of certain situations like COVID, we may have to make some changes to that overall strategy, just because theaters aren’t open or aren’t open to the extent that anybody needs to be financially viable.”
While currently, movies slated to get a theatrical release will continue to move forward in that fashion, they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis Chapek shared.