There are still things that Disney has to figure out. The company is in a huge pickle due to the coronavirus outbreak. Obviously, all people are suffering from this pandemic and many businesses are closing down. However, Disney is a huge corporation that is also on the brink of collapsing under its own weight. The financial obligation that the company had to take upon itself to acquire Sony is what will drag down Disney if they do not find a way to increase revenue somehow and show shareholders that they can withstand the storm.
Many experts believed that Disney would try to premiere some of their big box office hitters digitally and get at least some revenue going before the lockdowns are lifted. Black Widow and Mulan are both great candidates for digital releases. Yes, these are multimillion-dollar films that will do well in the box office. However, some say that Disney is not about thinking about huge profits right now. They are in a life or death situation.
Disney actually surprised many by not releasing any of their big blockbusters digitally and instead of delaying them by months or even years. They are playing the long game and do not want to give up their box office dominance. Their Disney+ service is not doing great either. The lack of content at the beginning of the service lifespan was definitely a big letdown. However, The Mandalorian gave many people a reason to subscribe.
Now, monthly subscriptions may be the only way of making money for Disney for the nearest future. As many movie theaters are preparing for long lockdowns and heavy financial losses, Disney has to get money from somewhere. Their streaming service is not supposed to be profitable for at least five years. Nonetheless, Disney does not want to make a quick buck. The corporation must convince shareholders that the company is not giving up and will make money in the future even in the post-pandemic environment.
In order to do so, the company has to show that its products are actually profitable or can be profitable with the right attitude and efficient management. While their parks are closed and toys are not selling (only via online stores), the company must get their online streaming service going and demonstrate that it is a good prospect for investors.
It sounds really good on paper, but there is a big problem — Disney can’t release anything new. The coronavirus outbreak affected not only their frontend business but also disrupted production. Disney is not producing anything right now as filming is halted across the industry. Their MCU shows and Star Wars related projects are not moving at all. They do not have anything to put on their streaming platform to keep people interested.
Disney must be really happy that they delayed Artemis Fowl. Yes, the decision was made due to the need for reshoots and additional editing. The original version of the film that was shown to the executive producers did not impress them and reshoots were ordered. Artemis Fowl was supposed to be released on May 29. Many believed that it would be postponed like other huge Disney films. However, the company decided to make it a new piece of content available exclusively on Disney+. Will it make a difference? It is hard to tell.
While many people are currently sitting in isolation and craving for fresh content, they do not have any income either. The vast majority of Americans are in a tight financial situation. Yes, many still can afford a subscription or two, but choosing between Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ is quite easy: both Amazon and Netflix have more content to offer. Disney+ does not offer anything outstanding and won’t be able to attract a big audience with Artemis Fowl that was not an anticipated blockbuster anyways.
On the other hand, it is a good idea to release Artemis Fowl digitally and immediately add it to their Disney+ service. First of all, the company probably does not have any free spots in the release schedule to insert this film anyways. Secondly, adding at least something to their digital library amidst the coronavirus outbreak may help them retain at least some paying customers.
Artemis Fowl does not really work as a box office juggernaut. Even the trailer was poorly received by people acquainted with the source material. The novels describe Artemis as a selfish criminal mastermind who exploits magical creatures to gain various advantages. He gradually changes to a better person and learns the value of friendship. However, he starts by being a typical douchebag. The trailer depicts him and his family as heroes who are fighting against some kind of evil organization.
The fandom was furious and some even called for a boycott of the movie that, allegedly, showed disrespect to the source material. The creators of the film did not respond to criticism. Instead, the creators double downed and said that the film will be much better because of the new direction. What is even more interesting is that reshoots and edits that were required led to this version of the film that fans universally rejected. What was in the movie before the reshoots?
Now, people behind the film were happy to announce that it will be released exclusively on the Disney streaming service. They pointed out that many people cannot leave their houses and don’t have much to do. The film will bring joy to many households currently dealing with stay-at-home orders issued all across the country.
Well, the company can sugarcoat their decision as hard as they want, but many understand that it is actually a good thing for the movie that was destined to be a box office disappointment. Now, it will have a good aura as many people will be happy to have a big release available for streaming. A fresh blockbuster level movie that you can stream from the comfort of your home? Yes, please, even if it is a movie that disregards its source material.
Disney will continue to search for other ways to make its streaming platform a good choice for customers during this pandemic. However, they will probably lose to Netflix in this race.