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Disney and ‘Mulan' Are All In on Streaming

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The company is making a conscious shift from crowd-friendly destinations toward entertainment accessible from your couch or smartphone.
Walt Disney Co. is managing through the Covid-19 crisis in a way almost no other company can. For a business centered around theme parks that by their very definition require crowds of people, all indications from guests’ anecdotes and reporting from journalists who have visited the reopened Orlando Disney World are that its safety measures are downright impressive, putting some states and local governments to shame. At the same time, Disney also appears to be making a conscious shift into another sort of company — one better equipped for a world in which perhaps fewer people hop on airplanes to visit faraway theme parks or even step foot in nearby movie theaters. And that is very telling. Disney held its latest earnings call on Tuesday evening after reporting results that were walloped once again by the pandemic with a $3 billion hit to profit. While that was to be expected, its executives did deliver some surprises that point to how they’re thinking about life after Covid. Theme parks are still the company’s foundation and core, and Disney certainly isn’t giving up on the box office, which justifies its big-budget blockbuster films. But here’s what I gleaned from the call: Disney really is going all in on streaming. With theaters still shut down, its studio business isn’t going to make consumers wait any longer to see “Mulan,” the much-anticipated live-action remake of the Disney animated classic that was supposed to be the film of the summer. The movie will be available to stream on the Disney+ app beginning in the U.

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