Disney CEO Attacks California Officials for Handling Pandemic, Keeping Parks Closed

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Studio Entertainment segment reported fourth-quarter revenues of $1.59 billion, down 52% year-over-year. With movie theaters closed and TV production stalled, Disney's streaming efforts have become the focus-and promise-of a company otherwise marked by layoffs and unprecedented losses. Disney's cruise line enterprise has additionally been closed for everything of the fourth quarter.

For the company, it's a hopeful sign as Disney theme parks try to rebound from the global pandemic.

Additionally, the company's total revenue also suffered a significant drop, with Disney reporting only $14.71 Billion in 2020, compared to its $19.1 Billion total in the same period past year, for a grand total in $5 Billion in revenue loss.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on the call that California's "arbitrary standard" for COVID-19 guidelines is hurting employees and surrounding businesses. The company is selectively releasing some of its films through its Disney+ streaming service while continuing delay its biggest blockbusters as it holds out for a theatrical release. Overall 2020 revenues slid by 6% from US$69.6 billion in 2019 to US$65.4 billion by the end of 2020.

As per MarketWatch, according to the company's November 12 quarterly report, Disney's fourth-quarter losses totaled $710 million Dollars, which led the company to suffer its second consecutive red quarter.

Christmas Decorations at Magic Kingdom
Christmas Decorations at Magic Kingdom

While the Disneyland Resort does not have an opening date on the horizon, Walt Disney World Resort is raising its capacity from 25% to 35%.

Most of Disney's theme parks, including its flagship resort in Florida, opened up for visitors during the quarter, but with limited attendance, mask requirements and other safeguards.

Ratings for the NBA Finals fell compared with recent years, denting the company's ESPN network.

Disney executives have taken a publicly aggressive approach to lobbying to reopen Disneyland, a departure for a company that usually tries to steer clear of controversy. Disneyland Paris reopened in July and is now closed again.

The Disneyland Resort has remained closed since March when it closed due to COVID-19. Chapek said he was "extremely disappointed" California's government hadn't loosened restrictions for Disneyland. In September, when Disney announced that it was forced to lay off 28,000 workers, Disney Parks Chair Josh D'Amaro singled out the government for a significant portion of the blame, saying, "To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors".

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