Before Disney’s Q1 2022 Mailbag: Disney+, ‘Encanto’ in Disney Parks, and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

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What countries are getting Disney+ this year?

We are seeing a massive rollout this summer across 42 countries and 11 territories.

The countries and territories that are getting Disney+ are Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City, and Yemen.

Along with the Faroe Islands, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, St. Pierre and Miquelon Overseas Collective, Åland Islands, Sint Maarten, Svalbard & Jan Mayen, British Indian Ocean Territory, Gibraltar, Pitcairn Islands and St. Helena.

Could Moon Knight hit Disney+ on March 30th with a two-part premiere? And could Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere on April 6th with the finales both on May the 4th and on May 11th before and after Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness hits theaters to not interfere with the movie’s opening weekend numbers?

Well at the time of this question, Moon Knight didn’t have a release date but it is now coming out on March 30. I have a feeling that it could be a two-episode premiere so May 4 is reserved for Star Wars. But it obviously isn’t a guarantee. Also, seems like all is quiet on the Obi-Wan Kenobi front. Hopefully, Disney’s Shareholders Meeting reveals a clearer Disney+ schedule.

I think they are conscious of what they release and when but with the original series dropping on Wednesdays I don’t see a lot of fear in it affecting the box office for Doctor Strange.

Will Disney give any info on the Toontown update as well Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway when Toontown closes or will they wait for D23 Expo?

I could see a small update when it closes. I could see an update at the shareholders meeting also. But it is safe to say D23 Expo should be the main source of Parks news, and if for some reason it isn’t…

We will be in some trouble…

How worried is Disney about Amazon and Apple getting into live sports and what that could do to ESPN?

ESPN lives and dies by live sports.

If Amazon and Apple get serious about live sports rights. It could be a major problem for Disney. Disney already spends a ton on sports as it is but I can’t imagine them outbidding Amazon and Apple. The two companies have deeper pockets than the Mouse.

I think Disney’s hope is that they can lock down sports rights for the streaming services and by the time they are up again that Apple and Amazon have moved on to chasing other revenue paths.

Any thoughts on the rumors that Bobby Kotick of Activision could be next CEO of Disney? (I say no freaking way)

I think whatever rumor you heard of is just more of a crazy prediction. But there is not a chance. Just Google “Bobby Kotick” and there will be plenty of reasons why he wouldn’t work at Disney.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek is at the helm until at least early 2023. There is also a better shot at Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs returning and becoming Co-CEOs of Disney before Disney ever thought of hiring Kotick as CEO.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now the 6th biggest of all time. But done in a pandemic and with no China. Simply amazing isn’t it?

Amazing indeed.

No Way Home proved itself to be pandemic-proof plus I think it was the perfect storm of things. A monumental film, multiple generations, massive appeal, great opening date, the desire to get out, and No Way Home’s lack of streaming option propelled it to great heights box office-wise. I hope more studios take note.

No Way Home set the new standard for theatrical. I’m curious to see how The Batman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness do in theaters.

Is there interest/demand for a third water park at Walt Disney World?

I think if Disney ever turns focus to its water parks it would build out what it already has. Also, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon seem like some of the last places in Walt Disney World without IP takeovers. It is shocking that Blizzard Beach doesn’t have an Olaf attraction. Maybe if Disney decided to build a third water park they would lean into their IP that has ties to nautical and adventure themes? (cough cough S.E.A. — Society of Explorers and Adventurers and others).

I know when most families go to Walt Disney World you either do one water park or the other. Adding a third could be fun for regulars and vacationers who come every year. But I just can’t see it happening when you could just build up the two water parks you have.

I think there is always an interest in more things at Walt Disney World but it seems unlikely they will build a third water park. At least right now. But once again you can never say never. Maybe Disney decides to build a third water park down the line? Maybe there is more of a demand for a third water park in a couple of years? Maybe Disney’s reaction to Universal’s Epic Universe is simply building a third water park?

Disney would just have to figure out the hook. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach serve their purposes. What would a third water park do? What theme would make it a draw?

Given the drop in share price and the amount of debt, is there a possibility that another company could offer to buy Disney?

Maybe a company launches a takeover bid? Similar to what SeaWorld is trying to do with Cedar Fair? But I feel like that’s highly unlikely. I think Disney will want to remain the last of the entertainment companies not owned by a tech company or a higher power. It should stay that way as it is one of the few companies that can constantly compete in all fronts of entertainment from theme parks to streaming to theatrical.

But with that being said Apple, Amazon, and Google. It would have to be a major player buying Disney. But Disney would be a massive buy and I just can’t see that happening currently. I think the DOJ would definitely get involved because a potential Apple-Disney combination would quite literally take over the world.

Any possibility of Disney buying a theater chain?

This is a fascinating topic and in an upcoming newsletter, we may dive into it more but from an Imagineering standpoint.

With the Paramount Decree coming to an end. Disney along with players like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and others could reshape the theatrical landscape if they wanted to.

Disney’s brand is strong. They also are playing a huge part in keeping the theatrical experience alive with event films that people will actually go out and see on the big screen.

There are so many extra costs that come with running a theater chain that Disney may not be interested in. Heck, they got out of the brick-and-mortar store business, so I can’t see them buying a theater chain where you have to worry about paying more employees, renting properties, dealing with other film studios when it comes to playing their films at Disney’s theaters, and other major operating costs that go with it.

But… It is an intriguing prospect of Disney running its own theater chain. What would the experience look like? Disney would have vertical integration and even more data at their disposal. What if this chain specifically plays Disney+ exclusive films? What about for finales of popular Marvel and Star Wars Disney+ series you have exclusive screenings before they drop on Disney+? There are a lot of possibilities and we may have to dive deeper into this later.

My answer for now is… never say never.

From all accounts, Encanto was a hit. Yet there’s little to no Encanto presence in the parks. Why do you think?

They were caught flat-footed.

Also, mix in that Disney isn’t spending on the parks as much and you get this. Encanto was represented at a food booth at the Festival of the Arts at EPCOT but that is super minor in the grand scheme.

Encanto in the Disney Parks even if it was a temporary experience or just meet and greets would do well. Maybe Encanto sequences will be added to Disney’s nighttime spectaculars? If Disney decides to announce new attractions and experiences at D23 in September, I would say an Encanto attraction/show somewhere should be at the top of the list.

Maybe we get some Encanto Summer Fun similar to Frozen Summer Fun from 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.