You heard this from us on our podcast! We ranted about it in our Blog! We warned you not to pay $30 dollars in extortion money to Disney above and beyond the subscription price you pay every month just so you could watch Mulan 2020 a couple months early! But most of all we warned of the circumstances if people did pay the extra $30 and now it looks like Disney plus is at it again and you heard it at Oh Brother months ago.
Disney is one of the largest companies in the world with so many IP’s we could write a blog about each one and have enough material to get us into 2022. During a worldwide pandemic Disney is still turning a profit to its stockholders. Disney is still making money while small town businesses are dying. With all seven Disney locations around the world closed at one time or another and their flagship Disneyland park in Anaheim still closed since the start of the pandemic Disney has still turned a profit. That is because Disney has so many monetary streams they can literally lose a huge chunk of their business that takes in millions a year and still be okay because they have movies, tv, and now a streaming service where they charge a monthly fee to subscribers to get content from all of their IP’s.
Disney parks are no longer The Happiest Place on Earth that Walt Disney envisioned many years ago. It is now closer to the greediest place on earth. We should say up front we have no axe to grind with Disney. At least one of us has held a pass to Walt Disney World since 1986. We’ve been to Disney Parks around the globe. An as the prices went up, we felt it was the price of new attractions, new entertainment, and the cost of doing business. But at some point, we stopped getting more attractions, stopped getting new entertainment, but the prices continued to climb. Disney went from an affordable family vacation to a club med for the rich. Exclusive Club 33’s were built secretly in each Disney park. There was one in California for many years as a place for Walt to host VIP’s, but you probably don’t know what a club 33 is, unless you work for Disney or are an avid fan, because it is exclusive entertainment with a cost above many people’s annual salary.
Then streaming services like Netflix and Hulu hit the scene and became very profitable and very popular. Disney, with IP’s like Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, ESPN, and Fox, not to mention their own film and TV library had more than enough to compete with Netflix who had to pay for their content or create stuff from scratch. Ironically Disney movies were once part of Netflix services until Disney noticed how high Netflix stock was rising. But when Disney announced Disney+ they promised more! Dedicated shows exclusive to their service based on Star Wars and Marvel and other Disney classics. Best of all they were offering a price lower than Netflix. Sign me up!
But then the pandemic hit and Disney with its pile of cash, of course, would take care of its employees first and foremost? Nope. Although they covered the price of medical benefits for a short term, thanks in part to the strength of Disney’s employee unions, that came to a crashing end. Soon 28,000 employees got pink slips. Not just short-term employees got the boot, but employees who had been entertaining Disney guests for 30 years were being let go. Even as most parks around the world began reopening minus Disneyland in Anaheim because California has been averaging a death via the pandemic at a clip of 1 person per minute and having large crowds in a small places is the best way to spread the pandemic. Disney responded with more cuts, more employees being let go, canceled attractions. Disney with closed attractions and shorter attraction hours lowered the price of admission, right? Nope. Less entertainment, less customer service, but same high prices. And as Disney continues to fire people executives continued getting paid their full salaries with bonuses, that were temporally stopped, only to be quickly reinstated.
Then the streaming service Disney+ decided to make its first cash grab. Mulan 2020, a live action version, of the popular Disney animated film following a pattern of other animated films brought to life could not be released in theaters because theaters were not reopened because of the threat of virus spread. Disney had the perfect answer release the movie on their new Disney+ streaming service and everyone’s happy. People signed up for this exact reason. Exclusive content only on Disney+ and Mulan 2020 fits the bill.
We won’t relive the last blog about Mulan 2020; just take a look and you’ll see our take. Of course, you know they called Mulan 2020 a Disney “Premiere“ release and charged current subscribers $30 above the subscription rate for the privilege of watching the movie 2 months prior to its debut on Disney+? What? I thought this was Disney+? Premiere movie? This wasn’t mentioned when I signed up for Disney+. Not even hiding the greed current CEO Bob Chapek told stockholders they were doing this to regain some of the losses from the theatrical release.
Meanwhile across town a new streaming service was launched by Warner called HBOMax. A bit more expensive than other services, but they recently announced they would be releasing all new movies simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service. Starting on Christmas Day with their long-delayed Wonder Woman sequel WW84. Even though talent was blind-sided by the announcement the strategy got off to a hot start. HBOMax earned somewhere in the neighborhood 40 million subscribers to their service to catch WW84. They must not have listened to our blog of that film.
So, now Disney with their Marvel Cinematic Universe being held up with the constant delays of Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson. Unlike Warner’s DC universe the Marvel movies need to be released in a certain order because each movie is a smaller piece to the overall story. Hence the name “Universe”.
We warned subscribers back when they held Mulan 2020 hostage for $30 that if they paid the ransom to get ready for Disney to do it again and now our prediction unfortunately seems to be coming to fruition. Not only does Black Widow look to be getting the “Premiere” tag, but the next Pixar movie Raya and The Last Dragon due for a theatrical March 2121 release may get the “Premiere” tag as well. In fact Disney+ in other countries have already labeled them as “Premiere events”.
Once again, we want to put out a warning if you pay the ransom, they will continue to hold movies hostage and add money to their pile of cash and dole it out to the stockholders. We thought maybe we sent a message because Disney released the last Pixar movie the brilliant Soul on Christmas Day. But after hearing the news that HBOMax picked up 40 million plus subscribers for the inferior WW84.
Soul seemed to be exactly what we expected when Disney+ was announced, but when they played the “Premiere” card with Mulan 2020 we warned this could lead to more levels of Disney+. Disney+ premiere, Disney+ silver, and what we currently have Disney+ for dummies? Don’t pay ransom to Disney to see a movie. This will only lead to more extortion so, as Bob Chapek announced, Disney+ will make up that money someplace. And right now, that place is your wallet.