Disney (NYSE: DIS) may already be giving investors a clue about when its business could return to normal operations. On Friday, April 3, the company announced new release dates for its 2020 slate.
Disney's Mulan, which was expected to have a big release in March, is now scheduled for July 24, 2020. Disney's Jungle Cruise will release a week later, while Marvel Studios' Black Widow has been pushed back to Nov. 6, 2020. The Eternals will release in February of next year.
Also, Walt Disney Studios announced that the live-action feature film Artemis Fowl will debut exclusively on Disney+, with a release date to be announced soon.
Disney's Artemis Fowl. Image source: Walt Disney.
Could this be over soon?
In total, there are 15 films to be released across the company's various studios this year. The only Marvel release is Black Widow, with most of the releases coming from 20th Century Studios, which Disney acquired last year. Additionally, Disney+ will be getting two original Marvel series this fall with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and WandaVision.
Of course, this could change depending on the COVID-19 situation, but clearly Disney expects movie theaters to be reopened by June. Plus, Walt Disney World Resort is currently accepting reservations for June, lending to the idea that the shutdown of Disney's theme parks and studios could be over shortly.
Analysts have already weighed in about the near-term hit they expect to Disney's bottom line. Some analysts have cut Disney's earnings estimates for the March- and June-ending quarters by double digits, while full-year estimates have been cut by just a few percent.
If the shutdown doesn't last past June, investors will likely look back at this episode as a speed bump in Disney's long-term growth trajectory.
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John Ballard owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short April 2020 $135 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.