NATIONWIDE – The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic had a $1 billion impact on its theme parks segment, which took a big hit because of COVID-19-related closures.
- Revenue down for Disney Parks amid coronavirus closures
- Segment was down 10 percent to $5.5 billion
- Disney closed its domestic theme parks in mid-March
- RELATED: No opening date yet for Disney World, Universal Orlando
The segment’s revenue dropped 10 percent to $5.5 billion in the second quarter which ended March 28, according to an earnings report. In the same quarter in previous year, revenue was $6.2 billion. Operating income in the second quarter was also down, dropping 58 percent to $639 million.
The pandemic resulted in the closure of Disney parks around the world, including Disney World and Disneyland. Disney said it lost an estimated $500 million from its domestic parks being closed during the last two weeks of March. Prior to the closures, guest spending and attendance at Disney World and Disneyland had been higher than the same time in the previous year, Disney said. But with the closures, attendance was down 11 percent in the second quarter.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an appreciable financial impact on a number of our businesses, we are confident in our ability to withstand this disruption and emerge from it in a strong position,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement.
This was the first earnings report for Chapek since becoming CEO of the company in late Februrary, replacing Bob Iger.
In an investors call following the report's release, Chapek said Disney is taking a “cautious” approach to reopening its theme parks. The approach could include the implementation of a number of measures, including guest capacity, density control measures, health and prevention procedures, and advance reservation systems.
Shanghai Disneyland will be the first Disney park to reopen, Chapek announced on the call. The park will begin a phased reopening on May 11 and will use temperature screenings, an advanced reservation and entry system with limited attendance, and increased sanitization measures. Both employees and guests will be required to wear masks.
No timeline was given for the reopening of Disney World or Disneyland, which have been closed since mid-March. The ongoing closures led to thousands of workers being furloughed and executives taking salary cuts. Chapek said the pay reductions will remain in place until Disney sees a "substantive" economic recovery.
Disney also said it reduced capital spending by hundreds of millions of dollars due to paused construction and refurbishment work at its theme parks. It's unclear what projects would be affected, but Disney World alone had several projects underway.
The pandemic also caused Disney to cancel sailings on its cruise line ad delay releases of major films like Black Widow, Mulan and Pixar's Soul.
But Disney executives are confident that business will bounce back.
“People find comfort and inspiration in our messages of hope and optimism,” Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said on the investors call. “This is the same reason we believe people will resume familiar activities once this crisis ends. They miss doing things they enjoy, thing that make them feel happy and connected with family and friends. Whether it’s going to movies theaters to see our films or visiting our theme parks around the world.”
Disney World and Disneyland remain closed until further notice.
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