A new report indicates Disney is cutting employee hours for their new feature attraction at Disneyland, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
A source, alleged to be an employee at Disneyland, told Fox Business, “Wait times this summer for the new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride were expected to be over 2 hours long all summer, but in reality, the lines have been averaging half that or less.” The source added, “As a result, the company has been forced to cut our hours. The need for us to work simply isn’t there.”
They continued, “Our hours have been cut to as low as 30-35 hours some weeks, even though we have both worked for the park for years. It makes life challenging when your paychecks get cut unexpectedly.”
The alleged employee also pointed that they believe the problem is that Galaxy’s Edge only has one cool feature,”I feel the problem is Star Wars took too long to build so they rushed the opening with only one cool feature. The only other big ride isn’t even scheduled to open until the end of the year.” They also noted:
“Part of the problem too has been all the hype surrounding the new Star Wars land. Tourists fear the anticipated crowds and the Los Angeles locals seem to be waiting out the summer crowds too. Admission to the park is not cheap either, it is $149.00 for one park or $199.00 during peak summer weekends for a park hopper ticket. For many families, that adds up real quick.”
This anonymous source’s speculation on why Galaxy’s Edge attendance is low is suspiciously similar to Disney CEO Bob Iger and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Office Christine McCarthy’s explanations during their Q3 2019 Earnings Call. (Related: Disney CEO Bob Iger Confirms Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Attendance Lower Than Expected)
Iger stated on the call:
“On the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge front, to give you some color, I think a number of things happened. First of all, Helped in part by some of our efforts there was tremendous concern in the marketplace that there was going to be huge crowding when we open Galaxy’s Edge. And so some people stayed away just because they expected that it would not be a great guest experience.
At the same time that was going on all the local hotels in the region, expecting a huge influx of visitation raise their prices. So, it’s simply got more expensive to come stay in Anaheim. In addition to that, we raised our prices we brought our daily price up, so if you think about local visitation we brought the price of a one-day ticket up substantially from a year ago.
And then we have opened up Galaxy’s Edge with one attraction instead of two, the second attraction is going to open in January.
And so all of those factors contributed to attendance that was below what we would have hoped it would be.”
However, the entire Star Wars brand is suffering following the release of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film divided the Star Wars fanbase with the majority of filmgoers indicating they had serious beef with the film. The Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score currently sits at 44% despite a critic score of 91%. (Related: Rumor: Disney Killing Off Iconic Star Wars Characters Because George Lucas Still Financially Attached)
The Last Jedi was followed up by Solo: A Star Wars Story, which only grossed $392.9 million worldwide with a production budget of $275 million. It was a big loser considering all of the other Disney Star Wars films grossed over $1 billion worldwide. In fact, Disney admits Solo: A Star Wars Story was a stinker. In their Q3 2019 Earnings Report they note they had an increase in theatrical distribution for this quarter as compared to last quarter when Solo: A Star Wars Story debuted.
“The increase in theatrical distribution results was due to the performance of Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Captain Marvel and Toy Story 4 in the current quarter compared to Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Black Panther and Solo: A Star Wars Story in the prior-year quarter.”
To make things worse Disney also admitted in their Q3 2019 Earnings Report that Star Wars merchandise sales have declined. The report reads:
“The increase at our consumer products business was due to growth at our merchandise licensing and retail businesses. Growth at merchandise licensing was primarily due to higher revenue from merchandise based on Toy Story, partially offset by a decrease from Star Wars merchandise. The increase at our retail business was due to higher comparable store sales and online revenue.”
It’s quite possible that Disney has bungled the Star Wars brand with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. The financials are increasingly pointing to that despite what appears to be PR spin from Iger.