Disney Headlines for September 10th, 2021
Over the last few days, Disney announced the mother of all Happy Meal incentives, the best possible movie casting, and a Hulu price increase.
Also, Disney Cruise Line won an impressive award somewhere along the way, and Shang-Chi absolutely crushed the box office.
Let’s talk about all the Disney Headlines for the week and maybe order some fries with that.
That’s a LOT of Happy Meals
Have you ever read something and instantly gotten a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?
Yeah, that’s what happened to me the other day when I heard what McDonald’s had done.
According to People Magazine, the fast-food chain plans to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in epic fashion.
McDonald’s restaurants around the country will offer Happy Meals with custom Disney toys inside.
Simultaneously, diners will have a chance at winning a dream Disney vacation, which would make for the ultimate in Happy Meals.
That’s not what has me sweating bullets, though. McDonald’s also announced the number of limited-edition Happy Meals it would sell.
Yes, there are 50 (!) of them. So, dedicated Disney fans will spend the next year collecting weekly Happy Meals at McDonald’s.
This decision directly impacts me as the only meat eater and fast food diner in my household. I just went on the Super Size Me diet because my wife will want the complete set.
This will be me in 50 Happy Meals:
My sacrifice will allow my wife to collect 50 Disney toys, including “Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration EARidescent fashion.”
The first toys will reportedly debut later this month, meaning it’s almost time to start scarfing down McDonald’s Happy Meals.
Hey, on a seemingly unrelated note, can anyone recommend any really good fat-burning workouts? Thanks in advance…
The Disney Movie Update
Let’s splash together a few different headlines here, as Disney’s movie business has definitely picked up recently.
First, Disney set some sort of Hollywood land speed record when it announced and then killed the Tower of Terror movie with Scarlett Johansson.
This turn of events happened due to the lawsuit between Disney and Johansson.
We’ve since learned that Johansson asked Disney to pay her $80 million in bonuses on top of the $20 million she earned to star in Black Widow.
Disney’s counteroffer was…ghosting her. Seriously, nobody at Disney knew who should respond. So, nobody did.
Johansson’s team had expected the standard Hollywood negotiation to ensue. Alas, Disney employs Silicon Valley tactics instead.
If the algorithms don’t justify anything near an $80 million payout, there’s no point in continuing the conversation anyway.
I actually discuss the subject in the latest episode of Streaming into the Void if you’re interested.
Long story short, with the Tower of Terror project dead on arrival, Disney pivoted to its other significant theme park attraction project.
Yes, casting has started in earnest on Haunted Mansion, which will become the second full-length feature based on the beloved ride.
Disney turned to a new friend for the project, too. Owen Wilson recently stole the show on Loki as a time travel law enforcement investigator.
Now, the actor will co-star in this comedy-horror project from director Justin Simien of Bad Hair fame.
The film had previously introduced LaKeith Stanfield and Tiffany Haddish. So, this project is already off to a great start.
In fact, the screenwriter is Katie Dippold, best known for her work on Parks and Rec and the female buddy cop movie, The Heat.
Disney has positioned the second Haunted Mansion to succeed, which should make up for the loss of the Tower of Terror.
The Shang-Chi Update
Speaking of Black Widow, a funny thing happened over Labor Day Weekend. The follow-up Marvel movie release kept defying expectations.
When you work in box office analysis, what happens is that you receive a bunch of studio estimates.
The studio starts saying how much a film should make over the three-day weekend as early as Friday afternoon.
Something similar happens at Netflix, where He’s All That, which came out less than a week ago, already has a four-week estimate of 55 million views.
Is this information accurate? I mean, define accurate. My old high school Trigonometry teacher called it guesstimating.
You don’t know how well something will do, but you feel informed enough to make a reasonable estimate. It’s slightly better than a guess…but only slightly.
Last Friday, some box office insiders had guesstimated that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would earn $28 million on Friday.
That led to a Friday-Sunday estimate of $67.8 million. Since Monday was an American holiday, the film garnered a four-day estimate of $75 million.
Friends, those numbers wound up being $75.4 million for Friday-Sunday and $94.7 million through Monday.
Shang-Chi has already surpassed $100 million domestically after only five days in theaters.
For perspective, Black Widow needed six days, which means that Shang-Chi has already passed it.
Folks, Black Widow stands as the most successful domestic box office earner during the pandemic.
The glowing reviews and impressive word-of-mouth caused guests to visit theaters to watch Shang-Chi at a higher rate than Black Widow. This thing’s a juggernaut.
This turn of events likely hurts Johansson’s lawsuit claim, as Disney can now point out that a better-reviewed movie earned more money.
As for Shang-Chi, it’s the biggest blockbuster in 18 months and a hopeful sign that movie theaters are returning to normal.
Other Disney Empire News
We’ve got two more diverse subjects to discuss in the headlines this week.
One involves Disney’s growing dominance in the streaming industry. While Shang-Chi didn’t receive a Disney+ release, it didn’t need one, either.
Despite the early success of Disney+, it’s not the streaming breadwinner yet. Instead, that honor belongs to Hulu+, a very lucrative part of The Walt Disney Company.
The problem is that revenue per user has stagnated a bit. For example, during the first quarter of 2020, Hulu+ earned $13.15 per customer.
In the most recent quarter, Hulu+ earned…$13.15 per customer. So, the company needs to raise prices to show more profit.
Disney just emailed its customers to inform us that Hulu+ will have an “upcoming price change.”
I’ve got the email sitting in my inbox, and it indicates the price increase will occur during my next billing cycle.
So, I get one last month at the current price. Then, I have the options of downgrading service (I’m on the ad-free plan), canceling Hulu+, or paying the dollar.
Like virtually everyone else, I’m going to pay the dollar.
Hulu+ delivers tremendous bang for the buck, and a dollar wouldn’t even get me one of those fatty Happy Meals.
Finally, Disney Cruise Line is back in the news for the best possible reason. Everyone’s ready to ramp up the cruise industry again.
In fact, every major company has returned to operations, but none of them can touch Disney. That’s not me talking, either.
The voters at Travel + Leisure just named DCL as the “No. 1 Mega-ship Ocean Cruise Line in the 2021 World’s Best Awards”.
The publication suggests that DCL “offers experiences guests just can’t find anywhere else.”
So, when you’re ready to take a cruise, Disney’s the only place to consider!