Disney CEO Addresses Concerns Over Releasing Films During Coronavirus Pandemic

Disney’s CEO addressed concerns over releasing their films during the coronavirus pandemic. Bob Chapek talked with CNBC about the company’s response to the hurdles the virus has caused around the globe. Shanghai’s Disneyland location just reopened Monday, but the road ahead is still long and uncertain. For the CEO and his company, getting movies back on screens is a pretty big priority, but they acknowledge it’s going to be hard to do without a vaccine available to the public. Just having the locations open might not be enough to entice people out in the early stages of reopening. He broke down some of the specifics with the site, and the weekend release dates end up being key.

"If you think about the occupancy of a movie theater, Monday through Friday afternoon, you know, 25 percent is about what you'd get,” Chapek began. “It only really becomes an issue on Friday night and Saturday night and, to a lesser extent, on Sunday night. So it really doesn't push the limits of what would typically be seen as occupancy inside movie theaters until you get to those weekend evenings, and in that particular case, I think that can be managed…That's really gonna be up to our exhibitors that we partner with."

Bob Iger has stepped back to the forefront of the company in the wake of this crisis. He had planned to hand over the reins to Chapek this year as 2019 proved to be the fairytale ending for the executive. Well, coronavirus had other plans and now Disney has to forge ahead without their cruise lines, movie theater earnings, and massively restricted theme park gate receipts.

Of the new releases, Iger told Barron’s, ”There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened. We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+."

What do you think the first immense movie to bring in those record-setting crowds will be? Any hope for Black Widow this year? Let us know in the comments!