Things keep inching their way back to normal for Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS). Disneyland in California finally reopened on the final day of April. The last of Disney’s businesses to come back — its growing fleet of cruise ships — should return to the high seas in a couple of months.
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to the House of Mouse. Let’s check out some of the dates that investors should be watching out for in May.
We’re a week away from what should be Disney’s fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit declines in revenue. Analysts see the media stock’s top line taking a 12% year-over-year hit for the fiscal second quarter, which covers the first three calendar months of this year. A projected profit of $0.28 a share will be less than half of what it served up a year earlier.
The good news for investors is that things will get a lot better from here. We’ve now lapped the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and the comparisons will get a lot easier for the following four quarters. Investors will probably want to get used to comparing Disney’s financials to where it was two years ago to get a better taste of how the recovery is coming along.
The even better morsel of good news is that the market has overlooked Disney’s recent financial shortcomings. The success of Disney+ is what has catapulted the shares to all-time highs this year. It’s probably fair to say that the market will be paying more attention to Disney+ growth metrics than to the actual quarterly results.
Disney returned to the U.S. multiplex scene in March after a year-long hiatus during the pandemic. The media giant’s next big release will be the Emma Stone-helmed Cruella, which it hopes will be the top draw of the historically potent Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The live-action feature starring the villain from the classic 101 Dalmatians is an origin story for Cruella, only this time it’s set in the London punk scene of the 1970s. This isn’t new turf for Disney. In 2014 it showcased Maleficent — the villain from Sleeping Beauty — in a movie of the same name starring Angelina Jolie. It’s not just Disney trying to provide a platform for villains to tell their side of the story. From Cobra Kai to Broadway’s Wicked, there’s no shortage of entertainment casting the baddies of the past in new sympathetic lights.
Cruella will also be the latest film to hit Disney+ as a premium offering the same day it hits a multiplex near you. Families paying $29.99 will have access to the film at home for a couple of months before it becomes available to all Disney+ subscribers.
Last week’s reopening of the original Disneyland and its adjacent Disney’s California Adventure sister park doesn’t mean that the world’s leading theme park operator is at full strength. Disneyland Paris is closed after a short-lived reopening last year.
Disneyland Paris was initially expected to open in February, but travel restrictions across Europe and the current COVID-19 conditions are keeping it closed. Other countries aren’t as far along on the vaccination and recovery paths. An update before the end of the month isn’t a given, but it would be of great interest to those waiting to see all the media stock‘s gated attractions back in service.
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