The MCU goes retro in 'WandaVision'
New York (CNN Business)Disney kicked off its 2021 fiscal year much as it spent most of 2020, with the pandemic hammering many of its businesses. But Disney+ continues to be the star of the company.
Disney’s revenue came in at $16.2 billion, which was down 22% from last year, the company said during its first quarter earnings on Thursday. While the revenue was a decline from last year, it was above Wall Street expectations.
Profits also continued to take a hit as the company reported $29 million in this quarter, down 99% from $2.1 billion last year.
Yet Disney+ is still growing, and Wall Street is still loving it.
The company’s streaming service now has nearly 95 million subscribers, which is up from the 86 million subscribers the company said it had in December.
Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Chapek also announced that Disney’s streaming business, which also includes services like Hulu, Hotstar and ESPN+, now has 146 million total paid subscriptions at the end of the quarter.
The news of the company’s earnings sent its stock up 3% in after-hours trading.
Disney’s earnings on Thursday were mostly unsurprising, and they gave an even clearer picture of just how vital Disney+ is to the health of the company right now. Disney’s streaming business led the way in a quarter where its profits and revenue dropped by sizable margins — again.
In short, Disney — a traditional media company that’s been around in Hollywood since 1923 — is starting to look more like, and being treated like, a tech company.
And its investment in streaming will not be slowing down anytime soon. The company showed off loads of new content to its shareholders and fans in December. That includes multiple new films and series from the company’s biggest brands like Star Wars and Marvel.
And speaking of Marvel, one of the biggest questions regarding Disney’s upcoming film slate is what will it do with “Black Widow” — the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which is set to open in theaters on May 7.
With the pandemic is still ongoing throughout the country, movie theaters have come nowhere near the capacity they operated at before Covid-19 hit. Could Disney put a film from the biggest blockbuster brand in the movie industry on Disney+, in the same way it did with “Mulan” last year?
Doesn’t look like it. At least, not yet, according to Disney’s CEO.
“We are still intending it to be a theatrical release,” Chapek said on the company’s earnings call Thursday.
Yet Chapek made it clear that Disney will be watching “very carefully” to see how everything plays out in terms of reopening theaters and “the consumer sentiment in terms of desire to go back to theaters.”
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