Disney Claims Force Was Too Strong at Star Wars Attraction

Stormtroopers and a park attendee at the unveiling of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif., in May.


Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

Not everything is proceeding as

Robert Iger

has foreseen.

“I’ve been doing earnings calls for a long time and this is one of our more complicated ones,” the

Walt Disney

DIS 1.34%

Chairman and Chief Executive said during Disney’s quarterly conference call earlier this month.

Disney is betting big on Star Wars to bring people into its parks and onto its forthcoming streaming service. It missed analyst estimates in the fiscal third quarter partly due to these outlays, causing a 7% decline in its share price the following day.

The “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” attraction at Disneyland Park is already operational, with its first phase opened in May. Yet early traffic has been muted. The company blames itself, in a way, claiming that its own promotion of the park sparked “tremendous concern” about crowds, actually deterring visitors. That may be true from a certain point of view, but higher prices for park tickets and local hotels surely didn’t help either.

Fortunately, Disney has said its Disney+ streaming service will be relatively cheap at just $6.99 a month when it launches in November. The service will compete against Netflix with less content, relying on Star Wars, Marvel and other Disney properties. Mr. Iger no doubt believes investors are underestimating the power of these franchises.

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