Disney's Production Schedule in the Time of a Pandemic

MisterPenguin

President of Animal Kingdom
Premium Member
Original Poster
So, because of the shut-down of production and theaters in the time of the coronavirus, some seem to have assumed that Disney's ability to produce film and video has been cut off at the knees. Well, yes, there has definitely been disruption and loss of expected profits, but it's not that bad.

First: The Bad

During the initial 'lock down' of the pandemic, there were basically five months of no filming. So, that definitely creates a gap in content. And it's content that is the source of profit (unless it bombs).

And since the initial 'lock down,' theaters have been mostly closed. The ones that were finally allowed to open could only do so at a reduced capacity. And even then, people didn't fill up that reduced capacity. Since films have started being released in August... almost all of them have not done well financially. The ability of theaters to get a big enough audience has led studios such as Disney to decide to either hold off releasing films that are ready, or, to debut them on a streaming service or Pay Per View.


Second: The Not So Bad

So, sure, for five months there was no filming happening but:

There was still production. The shut-down was a boon for writers to churn out scripts. Pre-production preparation could be planned. For animation, filming could actually continue as animators worked from home. For projects that had finished filming, post-production (such as editing and SFX) could continue during the lock-down.

Filming started to return in August in those states and countries that allowed it. Some Fall seasons of TV shows will go ahead this Fall. Many others will be ready for January or February. Sure, some sets had to shut down for two weeks when someone tested positive... but then they got back to filming.

And with theaters out of commission, well, there isn't a huge rush to get theatrical films finished if they have nowhere to go. Productions that had been delayed are now aiming mostly for the Spring when hopefully a general population vaccine is available.

While shows produced for TV/streaming can just go ahead and air, the films produced for theatrical release are stockpiling up. But it's not like they have a shelf-life and will go bad. There were a whole bunch of films that were going to hit theaters this Summer. They are already 'in the can' and waiting for release next Spring. Film production happening now is also looking toward the Spring or Summer or Fall of 2021.

And some studios, like Disney, have the option of clearing this backlog by moving theatrical releases to streaming. Disney did this to bury a bomb (Artemis Fowl), or, to bump up subscriptions to D+ (Hamilton).

It should be pointed out that theatrical films are not a huge income generator for a company. If a Marvel movie makes a billion dollars, Disney only sees half of that after sharing box office with the theaters. And such block busters can cost $350M after advertising. So, with a billion dollar movie, Disney profits $150M. It took about 10 MCU movies before Disney made back the cost of buying Marvel (if we only look at theatrical box office and not other windows of profit like DVDs and merchandising). Star Wars still hasn't made back at the box office what Disney paid for it.

But still, with the shut-down, it seems that there's this appearance that Disney's production has been hobbled. So, I compiled a list of what their studios are doing from now until the end of next year:

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Ripken10

Well-Known Member
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So, because of the shut-down of production and theaters in the time of the coronavirus, some seem to have assumed that Disney's ability to produce film and video has been cut off at the knees. Well, yes, there has definitely been disruption and loss of expected profits, but it's not that bad.

First: The Bad

During the initial 'lock down' of the pandemic, there were basically five months of no filming. So, that definitely creates a gap in content. And it's content that is the source of profit (unless it bombs).

And since the initial 'lock down,' theaters have been mostly closed. The ones that were finally allowed to open could only do so at a reduced capacity. And even then, people didn't fill up that reduced capacity. Since films have started being released in August... almost all of them have not done well financially. The ability of theaters to get a big enough audience has led studios such as Disney to decide to either hold off releasing films that are ready, or, to debut them on a streaming service or Pay Per View.


Second: The Not So Bad

So, sure, for five months there was no filming happening but:

There was still production. The shut-down was a boon for writers to churn out scripts. Pre-production preparation could be planned. For animation, filming could actually continue as animators worked from home. For projects that had finished filming, post-production (such as editing and SFX) could continue during the lock-down.

Filming started to return in August in those states and countries that allowed it. Some Fall seasons of TV shows will go ahead this Fall. Many others will be ready for January or February. Sure, some sets had to shut down for two weeks when someone tested positive... but then they got back to filming.

And with theaters out of commission, well, there isn't a huge rush to get theatrical films finished if they have nowhere to go. Productions that had been delayed are now aiming mostly for the Spring when hopefully a general population vaccine is available.

While shows produced for TV/streaming can just go ahead and air, the films produced for theatrical release are stockpiling up. But it's not like they have a shelf-life and will go bad. There were a whole bunch of films that were going to hit theaters this Summer. They are already 'in the can' and waiting for release next Spring. Film production happening now is also looking toward the Spring or Summer or Fall of 2021.

And some studios, like Disney, have the option of clearing this backlog by moving theatrical releases to streaming. Disney did this to bury a bomb (Artemis Fowl), or, to bump up subscriptions to D+ (Hamilton).

It should be pointed out that theatrical films are not a huge income generator for a company. If a Marvel movie makes a billion dollars, Disney only sees half of that after sharing box office with the theaters. And such block busters can cost $350M after advertising. So, with a billion dollar movie, Disney profits $150M. It took about 10 MCU movies before Disney made back the cost of buying Marvel (if we only look at theatrical box office and not other windows of profit like DVDs and merchandising). Star Wars still hasn't made back at the box office what Disney paid for it.

But still, with the shut-down, it seems that there's this appearance that Disney's production has been hobbled. So, I compiled a list of what their studios are doing from now until the end of next year:

View attachment 509339

View attachment 509340
Falcon and the Winter Soldier release date seems to be incorrect.
 

Darkprime

Well-Known Member

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