An alleged Disney insider claims the recent onset of the coronavirus pandemic is just one of the big factors that makes this “one of the most dangerous times for the company.”
User WDW Pro on the WDW Magic Forums detailed some ramifcations to Bob Chapek replacing Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO.
WDW Pro details six different points indicating Disney is in perilous territory.
In their first point, WDW Pro points to the coronavirus.
They write, “The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down huge sources of revenue for Disney and can potentially increase exponentially. This is one of the most dangerous times for the company, certainly the most dangerous since 9/11 and could end up being worse.”
This statement is indisputable. Disney shut down the Shanghai Disney Resort in January. After that initial closure, all of Disney’s theme parks in Asia would be shut down due to coronavirus. That includes Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and DisneySea.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Walt Disney World is instructing employees who recently traveled to Italy to stay home “out of an abundance of caution.” They also report that “Disney customer service representatives according to numerous social media posts, are telling guests who are concerned that the company is monitoring the situation closely and is offering, on a case by case basis, the ability to reschedule vacations.”
The second point WDW Pro makes is that “Lucasfilm is moving into dangerous territory for profitability and Chapek does not have the acumen or the gravitas to remove Kathleen Kennedy… Iger did.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was declared the “first $1 billion disappointment” by Forbes writer Scott Mendelson. Solo was a bonafide box office failure, and Disney repeatedly reported that Star Wars merchandise sales were on the decline. The brand did success with The Force Awakens and The Mandalorian as well as Star Wars Rebels.
The third point is acquisition of Fox. WDW Pro explains, “Fox movies inherited into the Disney company have been almost universally losses and look to continue damaging the company’s bottom line. And given that these properties are generating losses, that indicates systemic issues in those studios.”
Again. It’s hard to dispute this. Underwater had a $7 million opening weekend and only earned $39.1 million at the worldwide box office. The production budget is estimated at $65 million. The recently released The Call of The Wild starring Harrison Ford similarly bombed. The film had a $24.7 million opening weekend and has only earned $79.4 million worldwide. The production budget is $125 million. The New Mutants is only expected to have a $17 million opening weekend and earn $37 million domestically.
The fourth point is Chapek’s experience. WDW Pro writes, “Chapek is simply not viewed as anywhere near competent to run a company of this scale. Chapek couldn’t run the Parks division and has a shoddy track record. With this sudden announcement out of nowhere in the most volatile time period the company has faced in decades, the stock price could take a huge hit tomorrow morning.”
WDW Pro is not alone in this point. John Ballard at The Motley Fool points out that investors are also questioning Chapek’s experience especially when it comes to streaming. Ballard writes, “Some investors are wondering if Chapek has the knowledge in digital areas to guide Disney’s future in streaming.”
However, Ballard believes Chapek is more than capable, “Chapek’s record at overseeing theme parks, the most “direct-to-consumer” business, should ensure that Disney continues to deliver the growth investors expect.”
Disney stock did take a dive beginning on Monday, February 24th, the same day they closed their Shanghai park. It dropped from $138.97 to $133.01. It would continue to decline after Chapek was announced until the 28th where it hit $117.65. The stock did rebound today as of writing, it’s at $119.98.
The fifth point is, “There is fear Iger wanted to “lock in” now, suddenly and abruptly.
The sixth point might be the most interesting and the most telling of what Disney might have to face going forward., and that’s a decline in their Marvel brand.
WDW Pro writes, “Marvel’s future is not as strong as it was leading up to Endgame. The future slate of movies is not viewed within the company and the industry as being strong, and there is significant push to get X-Men up and running… but so far that’s not moving as quickly as many would like.”
They add, “Iger was able to form a great partnership with Feige in making Marvel a huge success – Chapek does not have that relationship, and will likely get run over.”
Fans also appear to view the upcoming Marvel slate to be much weaker, fearing that Marvel might infect their product with wokeness and sacrifice storytelling in favor of identity politics and woke virtue signalling.
Gary Buechler at Nerdrotic explains:
You can see WDW Pro’s full breakdown below:
What do you make of this rumor from WDW Pro? Do you think Disney might be in trouble going forward? What do you make of WDW Pro’s assessment of Star Wars and Marvel?