Walt Disney Co (DIS): Goal To Reopen Over Half Of Hotels By End Of Year And Pleased With ‘Mulan’ Results

By Dan Anderson ● September 11, 2020
  • Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) announced it has a plan to reopen over half of its hotels by the end of the year. And the company has been pleased with the Mulan results.

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) made a couple of big announcements this week. Disney CFO Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said this week that the company is happy with the debut of Mulan on the Disney+ streaming service and it led to an increase in subscribers. And Disney also said that it has a goal of reopening over half of its hotels by the end of the year.

Mulan Performance

“We are very pleased with what we saw over the four-day weekend — I’ll leave it at that,” said McCarthy on a conference call with Citigroup. “A four-day weekend is just the beginning.” Disney is going to reveal more about the release during its earning call in early November.

Disney started offering Mulan on Disney+ on September 4. And on top of the $7 per month fee, Mulan required another $30 to watch it. As of last month, the Disney+ streaming service had about 60.5 million subscribers.

This decision was made as COVID-19 resulted in the closing of movie theaters. McCarthy noted that about 68% of U.S. theaters are open and many key markets are still closed, including major locations in NYC and LA. And older consumers and parents are still apprehensive about attending theaters during the pandemic.

“Would a family with young kids go? Probably not,” McCarthy explained.

What makes Mulan special is that it is a $200 million live-action remake of the 1998 animated version of the film. Disney was originally planning to release the film in theaters in March and it was delayed several times during the pandemic.

For locations where Disney+ is not available, Disney is going to release the film in theaters. Today the film is debuting in China. It was reported that Mulan had mixed reviews in China as the star of the film expressed support of the Hong Kong police and it was partially filmed in the Xinjiang region where the government has been oppressing Uighurs (Turkic-speaking minority ethnic group) and Muslims. It was reported that Chinese authorities have been telling media outlets to avoid covering the release of the film.

Mulan stars Chinese-born actors including Jet Li, Gong Li, Donnie Yen, and Liu Yifei.

Goal To Reopen Over Half Of Hotels

Disney also said that it has a goal of reopening many of its hotels and resorts by the end of the year. Specifically, McCarthy said the company is aiming to have “a little over 50%” of its lodging facilities operational by the end of the current fiscal year (September 30). Currently, Disney operates 53 resort hotels.

This is important for the Disney’s financials as the parks, experiences, and products business category — which includes parks and resorts — saw an 85% year-over-year decline in the company’s most recent quarter, according to Fool.com. This was the worst-performing category of Disney’s four business units. And this was one of the biggest reasons why Disney saw a 42% year-over-year decline in revenue.