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Disney Reports Massive Losses; Mulan To Get September Streaming Release

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It’s impossible to quantify the total impact of the coronavirus, but the Walt Disney Co. has figured out what the pandemic cost its theme parks division in the second quarter of the year: $3.5 billion.

That was the media giant’s sober accounting on Tuesday, when it announced quarterly financial results that totaled $4.7 billion in losses. But Disney’s theme parks unit, which also includes its uninhabited cruise ships, was hardly the only division with plummeting income.

The company’s television business, which includes live-sports dependent ESPN, and its movie studio — unable to release films in theaters — also reported lower revenues.

Disney said its overall earnings collapsed 94% in the second quarter from a year ago. Executives did note that the new streaming site, Disney Plus, has attracted more than 57 million subscribers. But even that was below some Wall Street estimates.

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The company announced that its repeatedly postponed live-action version of “Mulan,” will now debut on Disney Plus on Sept. 4, but at an additional cost of $29.99.

In other industry news, NBCUniversal said it is cutting staff from its television networks, movie studio and cable channels.

The entertainment arm of media conglomerate Comcast is pink slipping thousands of its 35,000 employees, following sharply lower earnings last week. The Wall Street Journal estimated that the layoffs could be close to 10% of NBCUniversal’s workforce.

At the same time, NBCUniversal is launching an internal investigation into NBC and its entertainment chairman, Paul Telegdy. The Hollywood Reporter last week published an account of what it called a “toxic work environment” under Telegdy.

NBCUniversal did not reply to an email seeking comment.

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