The W Disney Company has announced they will have to furlough non-essential employees. This will take effect on April 19th. The company has been paying employees since March 14th, which is when both Disneyland and Disney World originally shut down. Since then, employees have received full pay and benefits while executives like Bob Iger and Bob Chapek took large pay cuts. Iger has forgone his entire salary while Chapek gave up 50%. Other executives are giving up part of their salaries too.
The entertainment industry has come to a screeching h due to the world's current situation. People have been asked to stay indoors and only go out for essential items like groceries and medicine. With that being said, there's no clear time when non-essential businesses will be able to open their doors, including Disneyland and Disney World. The W Disney Company released a statement on the matter. You can read a portion below.
"Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we've committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we're forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren't necessary at this time."
For now, it is unclear when Disney will be able to go back to business as usual. They are losing out on million of dollars as both theme parks stay remain closed. With that being said, they are taking reservations for June 1st, which has led many to believe they will try to open their doors at that time. In the meantime, they have some decent news for current employees who will be effected by the furlough. The rest of the statement concludes below.
"The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period. They will receive full hehcare benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney, and those enrolled in Disney Aspire will have continued access to the education program. Additionally, employees with available paid time off can elect to use some or all of it at the start of the furlough period and, once furloughed, they are eligible to receive an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance."
This certainly isn't the news that Disney employees wanted to hear, but it seems the company has done all that it could do, including the $6 billion they raised through a debt offering on March 20th to help offset the current financial impact. If all goes well, they might be able to get everything running again by this summer, which is still pretty far away at this point, especially since everyone is staying indoors.
Disney has stepped up in order to help with the world's current situation. Just yesterday the company announced that they were donating 100,000 N95 masks since their parks have been closed indefinitely. Additionally, they donated 150,000 rain ponchos. While things are uncertain for the time being, it appears that Disney has a plan to get employees back on their feet when the time comes. The Orlando Biz Journal was the first to
Disney+ may benefit from further delays with the studio's theatrical releases as more movies may be going directly to the streaming service in the future. This, according to former Disney CEO and current Executive Chairman Bob Iger. It was recently revealed that Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney+ sometime this year, skipping a theatrical release. As Iger explains, that may not be the only title to make the move from theatrical to streaming, but don't expect to see it happen with the studio's upcoming tentpole releases.
Given what's going on in the world right now, most movie theaters are shut down entirely and virtually all major releases through June have been delayed. Some have wondered if Disney might put movies like Black Widow or Mulan on Disney+ instead. While that won't be happening, Bob Iger isn't ruling out other movies making the shift. Here's what Iger had to say about it in a recent interview.
'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+. In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.'
There is a lot to unpack here. Black Widow and several other delayed movies were recently given new release dates as Disney reshuffled its 2020/2021 calendar. Black Widow and other big-budget tentpoles stand to make far more money in theaters, even with a relatively uncertain future ahead, than they could possibly generate via streaming. So putting movies like them directly on Disney+ doesn't make that much business sense.
In the meantime, taking riskier projects such as Artemis Fowl and giving Disney+ subscribers something flashy and exclusive is helpful. But what other movies might fit the bill for streaming debuts? The New Mutants perhaps? Whatever the case, as Bob Iger points out, the studio is content to wait until things return to normal. Disney, more than any other studio in Hollywood, is capable of raking in big dollars at the box office. So this truly isn't that surprising.
Other studios, on the other hand, may see value in doing a VOD/Digital release. Universal kicked that door wide open a couple of weeks back by putting recent releases such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt online. Trolls: World Tour, which was destined for theaters, will arrive digitally this month. Disney has not yet set a premiere date for Artemis Fowl, but it's...