Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Disney posts its first quarterly loss since 2001

Illustration for article titled Disney posts its first quarterly loss since 2001
Photo: y Kent Phillips/Walt Disney World Resort (Getty Images)

The global coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, particularly those of us in the U.S. who have to deal with a shocking level of stupidity from some of our elected officials, but it’s time for us to acknowledge the real victims: Giant corporations, which the supreme court determined are like people but better. As reported by Cartoon Brew, the Walt Disney Company is being hit especially hard by the coronavirus, having apparently lost $4.72 billion from April through June. That makes this the company’s first quarterly loss since 2001 and brings Disney’s total revenue down 42 percent, which is the sort of thing you should expect when a company makes a lot of its money from movie tickets and theme parks—none of which have been able to open in the U.S. until recently, and even then it probably hasn’t been an entirely good idea. (Though, to Disney’s credit, Walt Disney World has actually been making money since reopening, despite being in one of the most virus-ravaged states of the country, which is probably a net loss for America’s continued fight against COVID-19.) Also, Disney did just buy 20th Century Fox and laid a bunch of people from that studio off, so it has severance checks it needs to pay for.

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Disney World aside, the only branch within Disney that’s actually making money is its direct-to-consumer arm, i.e. Disney+, which we heard a few days ago had already met its five-year subscriber goal. Disney CEO Bob Chapek says the streaming service is now the company’s “top priority,” though he also admits that the strategy is a “one-off.” That makes sense, since it probably can’t do much to buoy the theme park and theatrical division—at least until they rebrand Galaxy’s Edge as Baby Yoda Land and Space Mountain becomes Alexander Hamilton’s Cyber Chase.

Interestingly, just about a year ago, Disney was having an ungodly successful summer at the box office thanks to the success of Aladdin, Avengers: Endgame, and that scheme to rerelease Avengers: Endgame with a new hat—err, some new footage. In July, Disney broke the record for a single studio’s annual box office total, meaning it had already made more money by July than other studio had ever made in a single year, and by January we knew that it had accounted for a third of all box office revenue in the U.S. in 2019. Luckily Disney has that $30 price point for Mulan to fall back on. It’ll be fine.

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