Here is part two of our three part series. The italicized intro is from yesterday, followed by questions 4-6. We will publish our final three questions tomorrow, Wednesday December 9th. The following day will be the event that we will be covering as it happens.
This Thursday The Walt Disney Company will make their annual presentation to their investors at their “Investor Day 2020.” While Disney tends to make its splashiest and more exciting announcements regarding theme parks, major film franchises, and their most popular properties at their D23 Expo. These investor presentations are aimed more for… well, investors, and less toward the casual fan. However, we know that there are big projects that need to be announced soon and this Thursday may provide the perfect opportunity.
Here are the second three, out of nine, questions we hope to get answered on Thursday:
4. What is Disney’s goal moving forward with live sports?
Disney has a huge financial interest tied up in live sports, as they own ESPN and its many iterations. Covid-19 has flipped the entire sports world upside down, which in turn flips the entire sports broadcasting world along with it. All of this at a time when Disney was starting to shift their focus from ESPN to the streaming service ESPN+.
ESPN has always been a reliable money maker for the company, the cable network has consistently been the highest rated network among young and middle aged men. However, Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into the entire equation and the network is starting to see a drop off as “cord cutting” (the movement among consumers to switch from standard cable packages and move to the more ‘a la carte’ options allowed from streaming) rapidly becomes the norm.
At last November’s Q4 earnings call Disney CEO Bob Chapek fielded a number of questions from investors regarding Disney’s plan for ESPN moving forward. Chapek was upbeat and positive, but also extremely vague. Sort of sounded like a spokesperson for a political candidate that is trailing in the polls, a lot of cheerleading but not any concrete details for the future.
Hopefully we will get something more concrete on Thursday. ESPN is such a juggernaut for Disney, they are going to have to make some major changes to keep up with the times. The only question is if those are ready to be announced this week or if we will have to wait.
5. Will we get any release dates for upcoming Disney+ series for Marvel or Lucas Films?
We know that Disney+ is working on a long list of Marvel and Star Wars focused series for the streaming service. Such as: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Loki, Ms Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Obi-Wan Kenobi project, The Bad Batch, Cassian Andor project, and more.
None of these have confirmed release dates. Since Covid-19 completely destroyed original production schedules, any early release date rumors have been upended. So it will be very interesting to see if Disney elaborates more on these series.
Disney+’s lifeblood is their legendary backlog of movies and series. This is what really feeds the beast day to day. However, this does not grow the service. Anyone who wanted access to this library has already signed up for the service, so it is original content that brings in the new customers.
The Mandalorian has done the heavy lifting thus far, thankfully it is strong enough to do so, but it could use some backup. The number of subscribers for Disney+ has broken every expectation, but the sky is truly the limit once we get our first Marvel series and we start adding Lucas Film projects alongside The Mandalorian.
6. Will we get a trailer for WandaVision, Cruella, or any other completed upcoming projects?
There are a few big projects that we know Disney has all but wrapped up. Obviously a little post-production nip and tuck could always happen, but for the most part they are done. Knowing this, will Disney give us an actual trailer for some of these?
WandaVision is the one I would expect if we were to get any. It comes out in less than six weeks, Disney has been releasing new posters everyday this week, it was the cover story for Entertainment Weekly recently, and we haven’t had a meaningful trailer from the series.
The other project that could release its trailer is Cruella. This is the live-action 101 Dalmations prequel which serves as the origin story for the film’s antagonist Cruella De Vil. The film stars Emma Stone in the titular role. The film is currently expected to be released at the end of May in theaters, but it is widely expected that this film will be moved to a Disney+ release. We know that the film is essentially wrapped, so the content is there, will they give us a sneak peak this Thursday? We will see.
Check back tomorrow for the next three questions as we lead up to the big day.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @SeanNyberg as I live tweet the entire event. Follow @TheDisinsider to get full stories as they happen and listen to The Disney Beat Podcast Thursday evening for a full wrap up of the day’s events.