For Disney, a Stricken Empire


It was once a prospering kingdom, the envy of all the land. But in crept an invisible menace.

It could be the story line for a classic Disney movie. Instead, Disney is living it — and happily ever after is nowhere in sight.

After a decade of spectacular growth, the entertainment conglomerate has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Its 14 theme parks (annual attendance: 157 million) delivered record profits in 2019. They’re now padlocked. Its movie studios (there are eight) controlled a staggering 40 percent of the domestic box office last year. Now, they’re sitting at a near standstill.

“From great to good to bad to ugly,” Michael Nathanson, a leading media analyst, wrote in a report of Disney’s extreme reversal in fortunes. “Recession will cause further pain.”


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