The Walt Disney Company has canceled plans for its Disney+ European launch event in response to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The event was scheduled to take place on March 5th at Exhibition London. The event would have celebrated the launch of Disney+ in Europe with exclusive presentations from executives, creators, and special guests. COVID-19 has infected more than 90,000 worldwide and killed more than 3,000 of those infected. Disney decided to scrap the event, which would have gathered hundreds, amid fears of a global pandemic. The company will promote the streaming service's European launch via social media and press releases.
“Due to a number of media attendee cancellations and increasing concerns at the prospect of traveling internationally at this time, we have decided to cancel our Disney+ launch events scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday,” Disney stated in its cancellation notice.”
Disney also announced on Tuesday that it had reached a multi-year deal with Sky that will allow Sky subscribers access to Disney+ through their existing set-top boxes. The service will be available to customers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland beginning March 24th. Belgium, the Nordics, Portugal, and other Western European countries will see the service in their regions in summer 2020.
Disney+ has been available in the United States since late 2019. The service will launch in Europe with an offering of original series that includes The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Diary of a Future President, The World According To Jeff Goldblum, and Marvel’s Hero Project.
There remains some confusion about whether the complete Disney+ library of shows like The Simpsons will be available at launch. Sky says it will have The Simpsons as a co-exclusive for the time being, though whether it will be available at launch is unclear.
The spread of the COVID-19 has caused wide-scale disruption across the entertainment industry. WWE is monitoring the spread of the virus in Tampa Bay, Florida, the site of WrestleMania 36. Warner Bros. canceled the premiere of Superman: Red Son. Netflix is struggling to film Dwayne Johnson's new movie, Red Notice. Disney delayed the Chinese premiere of its live-action Mulan movie indefinitely. The Game Developers Conference canceled its 2020 event after a series of company pullouts. Certain events are moving ahead undeterred for now, E3 and Emerald City Comic Con among them.