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The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries have been variously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the company has business interests in areas that involve mass gatherings (including its theme parks and film releases) and isolation (including its streaming service and U.S. television brands).
In March 2020, Disney's executive chairman Bob Iger announced that he would not take any salary during the pandemic; in 2019 he earned $47.5 million. Chief executive Bob Chapek announced that he will take a 50% pay cut.
The president of Walt Disney World, Josh D'Amaro, was included on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's board for re-opening the state and reinvigorating its economy, while Disney Parks' VP Thomas Mazloum is on the task force for Orange County, Florida's economic recovery.
The stock of the company fell 28% on April 20, 2020.
Two of the company's theme parks, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, closed on January 25, 2020.On February 28, the Tokyo Disney Resort closed.
On March 12, the company announced that Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and Disneyland Paris would be closed beginning March 15 through at least the end of the month, marking the first time that all six Disney resorts worldwide were closed.Two days later, Disney announced the temporary suspension of its internship programs, including the Disney College Program and International Programs, which was later extended until the end of 2020. Due to the closure of Walt Disney World, the British variety show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway canceled a finale taping that had been set to film at the resort in March. On March 27, the closure of both U.S. resorts were extended indefinitely. Cast members were to be paid through the week of April 18, 2020.
Iger suggested that when parks reopen, temperature checks on visitors will become routine.
Walt Disney World employs 75,000 total workers, the biggest single-site employer in the United States.From the week beginning April 20, 2020, over 100,000 staff at Disney theme parks and hotels were put on indefinite unpaid leave, to save the company $500 million. The move was taken due to the extended period of closures for these destinations, which earn over $1 billion per quarter. Disney had arranged with the Florida unemployment program for its 26,000 UNITE HERE union workers in the state to be automatically enrolled, preventing them from needing to apply on the system that is said to regularly fail – though the state's benefits have been criticized for only paying out $275 a week for 12 weeks.
Shanghai Disneyland was the first park to reopen on May 11, 2020, with new safety protocols. Park capacity was limited to 30%, social distancing measures were instituted, and temperature checks and face masks were required for entrance.On May 20, following the easing of some restrictions in Florida for retail and dining establishments, third party retailers at Disney Springs were allowed to reopen. Disney-owned stores in the shopping district reopened on May 27. On May 27, the Orange County Recovery Task Force in Orlando approved Disney's phased approach to opening the Walt Disney World Resort, with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom slated to reopen on July 11, followed by the reopening of Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15.
On June 10, 2020, the Disneyland Resort in California announced its intentions for reopening. Pending local government approval, the resort intended to open the Downtown Disney shopping district on July 9. The reopening of the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure was set to follow shortly after on July 17, 2020, sixty-five years to the day the original park opened.However, the reopening of Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Disney owned resort hotels were postponed indefinitely due to the continuation of the pandemic.
On June 1, the Tokyo Disneyland Resort shopping district, Ikspiari, reopened to the public. The Parks reopened on July 1.
Disneyland Paris reopened on July 15, 2020,but closed in late October when France started a second lockdown.
On September 29, 2020, the New York Times reported that Disney was laying off 28,000 people in the United States, due to the impact of the pandemic on its parks, resorts, cruise line, and retail store business. According to Josh D'Amaro, the chairman of Disney's parks, 67% of the employees reported to be laid off were part-time workers who were paid by the hour.
On November 9, 2020, the Disneyland Resort announced additional furloughs for executive, salaried and hourly cast members. No reopening date for the California parks was known.
On January 11, 2021, Orange County officials announced that Disneyland was set to become a massive COVID-19 vaccination site.
On February 8, 2021, outdoor dining reopened in Downtown Disney.From March 18 through April 19, 2021, Disneyland and Disney California will host a limited-capacity ticketed event called “A Touch of Disney”, which will offer guests to shop at stores and enjoy eateries around the parks. On March 5, 2021, it was announced that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure could reopen with capacity restrictions beginning April 1, 2021. Four days later, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced at a shareholder's meeting that the company is planning on officially reopening the parks in late April 2021. On March 17, 2021, it was then announced by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products that both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure would officially reopen on April 30, 2021.
On May 3, 2021, the return of the Disney College Program in Orlando was announced for June 2021 with priority given for 2020 applicants to reapply.Though no immediate announcement was made for the program in Anaheim, the Culinary Program, Professional Internships or the International Programs, on July 2021, the Culinary Program was confirmed to return to Orlando for the August 2021 semester.
Disneyland Paris reopened on June 17, 2021, marking the first day in 17 months that all Disney parks worldwide were open.
On March 12, 2020, Disney Cruise Line made the decision to stop sailing.It suspended all ships on March 14, when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered cruises to stop sailing for 30 days. On April 6, Disney Cruise Line extended its shutdown and announced it would not launch ships until April 28, and would not travel to Canada until July 1, in line with Canadian cruise ship restrictions. As compensation to passengers, Disney is offering full refunds or to re-book a cruise for within 15 months of the original departure. Per CDC direction, the cruise line on June 8, 2020 its restart dates canceled additional trips with Dream class ships sailings through July 27 while the Magic and Wonder sailings through October 2 and September 14, 2020, respectively.
On March 19, Walt Disney Studios announced that they would no longer report box office figures.
As films began to cancel wide releases at the start of 2020, Disney's Mulan was postponed in China and Italy.Particularly for Disney, Mulan not opening in China, where it aimed to make most of its money, was concerning, especially with the possibility of pirated copies appearing, discouraging Chinese patronage in cinemas on release. Mulan's London premiere on March 12 went ahead without a red carpet, but on March 13 it was announced that the film was removed from the release calendar; on this day, Disney also postponed the releases of Antlers and The New Mutants. Also on March 13, Walt Disney Television announced that production was suspended on many of its series. The Disney Family Singalong , an ABC special on April 16, which featured karaoke performances of songs from Disney works with celebrity guests, was created during the lockdowns in the US.
The 2020 opening March weekend's biggest film was Disney/Pixar's Onward , making around US$39 million. This was dramatically lower than the year before, when Disney/Marvel film Captain Marvel earned over US$153 million.For its second weekend, during the worst box office period the US had seen in decades, Onward saw the biggest weekend-to-weekend drop of any Pixar film, making $10.5 million, though was still the weekend's biggest film and the only one to make over $10 million. It did not open in the areas most affected by the pandemic; while cinemas were closed in China, it also chose not to open in South Korea, Italy or Japan, and was ultimately made available to purchase digitally on March 21. It was then added to Disney+ on April 3.
Pixar delayed its next release, Soul , from June 19, 2020 to November 20, 2020,before cancelling its theatrical showing and instead giving the film a Christmas 2020 release on Disney+. The 2021 film Luca also was released direct-to-streaming on Disney+ on June 18, 2021, along with a simultaneous limited run at the El Capitan Theatre; it was released in theaters in countries without the streaming service.
The Disney+ European launch press event was postponed.With the lockdowns during the pandemic, it was noted that the popularity of streaming services, including Disney+, would increase. Disney saw fit that the service should go live in India on March 11, eighteen days before it the initial release date was expected to. It also added the film Frozen II to the streaming service earlier than first expected, on March 15 instead of June 26, and sent its movie adaptation Artemis Fowl directly onto Disney+ on June 12, rather than releasing it in theatres. A recording of the broadway musical Hamilton also was shifted from a theatrical release to the service, despite the company paying $75 million for the rights to release it in theatres in 2021. The One and Only Ivan was also added directly to Disney+ on August 21, rather than its planned theatrical release. Mulan , after being delayed several times, had its US and international release in cinemas cancelled and instead premiered on Disney+ on September 4, 2020.
Disney+ had achieved over 50 million subscribers in its first five months online (to April 2020).By November 2020, it had more than 73 million subscribers.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was first hit on March 12; the Marvel Studios film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings , which was shooting in Australia, suspended production due to director Destin Daniel Cretton self-isolating due to suspected coronavirus, though he later tested negative.The next day, despite several Disney films having their releases postponed in a company announcement, the May 1 superhero blockbuster Black Widow was initially not one of these. This omission was speculated to be because the other films are standalone, while moving Black Widow – the first film of Phase Four – would affect the development and distribution of the future Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Disney+ works, with Disney holding off on an early postponement announcement; Black Widow was finally postponed on March 17, when Disney also postponed its other May releases. It had earlier been speculated that Black Widow would be able to take Marvel's November release date planned for Eternals , as Marvel had 'claimed' many future dates for blockbuster releases, which could save the film's prospects where smaller company releases may not. The replacement was later confirmed, with a domino effect causing each future Marvel film to be sequentially replaced. This also bumped Shang-Chi, with Marvel's first Asian hero, out of its Chinese New Year release date: it was due to be released in February 2021 but was displaced by the sequel of 2016 film Doctor Strange . However, given the film's early production shut-down, it may have missed its planned release date, anyway. Due to release delays and continuous coronavirus cases in the United States, Disney announced both Black Widow and Eternals pushed to a year from their original schedule, with Shang-Chi pushed to a fall 2021 release.
The Marvel Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier suspended production in Prague, the Czech Republic, where the series was set to film for a week. The series resumed production in Atlanta before global production was halted.Because of the pandemic, the series premiere has been pushed back from 2020 to 2021.
On May 11, 2020, Lucasfilm released a video featuring Mark Hamill thanking Star Wars fans from all over the world, who worked as medical and healthcare workers, for their efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their countries.
On June 15, 2020, it was announced that the Star Wars convention "Celebration Anaheim 2020" had been canceled due to the pandemic, with the next event scheduled for August 18–21, 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
On July 23, 2020, it was reported that the next three Star Wars films have been delayed by a year each to December 2023, December 2025, and December 2027 respectively as a result of the pandemic.
On February 9, 2021, Disney announced that it would be closing the animation studio Blue Sky Studios, which it had acquired through its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on March 20, 2019. A studio spokesperson had stated that it was no longer sustainable for Disney to run a third feature animation studio due to the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry. The closure of Blue Sky Studios affected 450 employees, with Disney stating that it would help them find work at its internal studios. In addition, production of a film adaptation of the webcomic Nimona ,originally scheduled to be released on January 14, 2022, was cancelled as a result of its closure. Disney will also acquire Blue Sky's film library and intellectual properties. The studio officially closed on April 10, 2021.
All West End and Broadway Disney Theatrical Productions are closed, as Broadway and West End shut down in March 2020.On May 14, 2020, it was announced that the Broadway musical Frozen will not reopen after the lockdown is lifted. The show performed its final performance on March 11, the day before all Broadway theatres closed. The US national tour would open when tenable. The international productions, West End, Australia, Japan, and Germany, have been pushed back to 2021.
The two-year Broadway run cost about $35 million to mount, attracted attendance over 1.3 million and gross over $150 million. While not the box office performer as Hamilton or its stablemates The Lion King and Aladdin, the musical had mostly favorable reviews and a solid box office by grossing in the 80%-90% of box office potential. The 2019 holiday year end week gross about $2.2 million and April 2020 hit 98% of potential. Thus Frozen was chosen to close given the future lower attendance at theatres.
On March 23, 2020, preeminent North American direct market comic book industry wholesaler Diamond Comics Distribution announced that they would not ship comic books scheduled for release on April 1 or afterwards as many of the comic shops they service were forced to close or move to curbside pickup and/or delivery.Eight days later, Marvel Comics announced it would cease publishing single comic book issues in digital and print format starting the following day. On April 28, Diamond announced it would resume distribution of single issue comics to retailers, with in-store availability scheduled for May 20. Marvel Comics issues were accordingly rescheduled for publication starting that day, ending a 7-week period of delays. As of May 2021, several Marvel series originally scheduled for release prior to the pandemic have not been rescheduled. IDW Publishing, which published licensed Disney comics in North America during the period and is the current publisher of licensed all-ages Marvel and Star Wars comics, also had their single-issue publications suspended by Diamond's shutdown.
Disney California Adventure Park, commonly referred to as California Adventure or by its acronym DCA, is a theme park located at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, Experiences and Products division. The 72-acre (29 ha) park is themed after the history and culture of California, which celebrates the adventure of the state through the use of various Disney, Pixar and Marvel Studios properties. The park opened on February 8, 2001 as Disney's California Adventure Park and is the second of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort complex, after Disneyland Park.
Hong Kong Disneyland is a theme park located on reclaimed land in Penny's Bay, Lantau Island. It is located inside the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and it is owned and managed by Hong Kong International Theme Parks. It is the largest theme park in Hong Kong, followed by Ocean Park Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland was opened to visitors on Monday, 12 September 2005 at 13:00 HKT. Disney attempted to avoid problems of cultural backlash by incorporating Chinese culture, customs and traditions when designing and building the resort, including adherence to the rules of feng shui. Notably, a bend was put in a walkway near the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort entrance so good qi energy would not flow into the South China Sea.
Walt Disney Studios Park is the second of two theme parks built at Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallée, France, which opened on 16 March 2002. It is dedicated to show business, themed after movies, production, and behind-the-scenes. In 2019, the park hosted approximately 5.2 million guests.
The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park designed and built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was originally the only attraction on the property; its official name was changed to Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the expanding complex in the 1990s. It was the first Disney theme park.
Shanghai Disneyland is a theme park located in Chuansha New Town, Pudong, Shanghai, China, that is part of the Shanghai Disney Resort. The park is operated by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and Shanghai Shendi Group, through a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shendi. Construction began on April 8, 2011. The park opened on June 16, 2016. The park operated in its first half-year with a visitor attendance of 5.60 million guests.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films produced by Marvel Studios. The films are based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The franchise also includes television series, short films, digital series, and literature. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.
Black Widow is a 2021 American superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Cate Shortland from a screenplay by Eric Pearson, and stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), the film sees Romanoff on the run and forced to confront her past.
Mulan is a Disney media franchise that began in 1998 with the theatrical release of Mulan.
Mulan is a 2020 American fantasy action drama film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin, it is a live-action adaptation of the 1998 Walt Disney Animation Studios film of the same name, itself based on the Chinese folklore story Ballad of Mulan. The film stars Yifei Liu in the title role, alongside Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan, Gong Li, and Jet Li in supporting roles. In the film, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, masquerades as a man to take her ailing father's place during a general conscription to counter the Rouran army in Imperial China.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a roller coaster attraction that is currently under construction at Epcot at Walt Disney World. The ride will be manufactured by Vekoma. Based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Guardians of the Galaxy, the attraction will be the first at Walt Disney World to feature characters from the Marvel Universe. It will replace the Universe of Energy pavilion, which closed on August 13, 2017.
Morbius is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is intended to be the third film in Sony's Spider-Man Universe. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, and stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius alongside Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. In the film, Morbius becomes a vampire after attempting to cure himself of a rare blood disease.
The untitled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel is an upcoming American computer-animated superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales / Spider-Man, produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and is set in a shared multiverse of alternate universes called the "Spider-Verse". The film is being directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson from a screenplay by David Callaham, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller. Shameik Moore voices Morales, starring alongside Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Issa Rae.
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a group of American superhero films and television series produced by Marvel Studios based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. Phase Four features all of the Marvel Studios productions set to be released from 2021 through 2023. It is the first phase in the franchise to include television series, with Marvel Studios developing several event series for the streaming service Disney+ in addition to the feature films that it was already set to produce. Phase Four began with the series WandaVision, which premiered in January 2021, while the first theatrical film in this phase is Black Widow, which was released in July 2021 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The release schedule of Phase Four was changed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevin Feige produces every film and executive produces every series in this phase, alongside producers Jonathan Schwartz for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Nate Moore for Eternals, Amy Pascal for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Brad Winderbaum for Thor: Love and Thunder.
The Marvels is an upcoming American superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the characters Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is intended to be the sequel to Captain Marvel (2019), a continuation of the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel (2022), and the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Nia DaCosta from a screenplay by Megan McDonnell, and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the film industry in 2020 and 2021, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors. Across the world and to varying degrees, cinemas and movie theaters have been closed, festivals have been cancelled or postponed, and film releases have been moved to future dates or delayed indefinitely. Due to cinemas and movie theaters closing, the global box office has dropped by billions of dollars, streaming has seen a significant increase in popularity and the stock of film exhibitors has also dropped dramatically. Many blockbusters originally scheduled to be released since mid-March 2020 have been postponed or canceled around the world, with film productions also halted. This, in turn, has created openings for independent cinema productions to receive wider exposure.
Deadpool and Korg React is a 2021 American superhero promotional short film featuring the Marvel Comics characters Deadpool and Korg. The film was directed by Ryan Reynolds from a script by Reynolds and Taika Waititi, with Reynolds and Waititi starring as Deadpool and Korg. In Deadpool and Korg React, Wade Wilson and Korg react to the trailer of Free Guy before discussing the possibility of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Reynolds reprises his role from the X-Men film series, while Waititi reprises his role from the MCU films Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame.
Duarte says about 400 to 500 of Local 50’s members are headed back to work for a Touch of Disney, which currently runs from March 18 through April 19 but will release more tickets on a rolling basis.
It is unknown when exactly Snow White will start production, but I’ve heard that the studio is looking at a September/October start in Vancouver, Canada. Also, Disney would need the okay from the Canadian government to begin filming as they are keeping a firm grasp on their citizen's health and safety due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Snow White was a project that was expected to start production over a year ago in Vancouver, Canada but sadly, the coronavirus changed those plans. As of now, I am hearing Marc Webb is still attached to direct, but won’t be able to focus on the project till later this year as he is working on the Disney+ series Just Beyond.