The Walt Disney Company

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
'Indiana Jones 5' casts Phoebe Waller-Bridge to star with Harrison Ford
Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Phoebe Waller-Bridge Credit: Film Codex (Twitter Reproduction)

Disney announced Friday that British actress Phoebe-Waller Bridge has signed on to appear in the upcoming fifth "Indiana Jones" movie alongside Harrison Ford, who's been wearing Indy's familiar fedora since 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The British writer-producer-actress created the acclaimed Amazon Studios dramedy Fleabag and was the showrunner of the first season of BBC America's Killing Eve.

James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari) is taking over directing duties from Steven Spielberg, who helmed the first four films in the franchise.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Black Widow to premiere in theatres and Disney+, release date pushed back 2 months
Black Widow to premiere in theatres and Disney+, release date pushed back 2 months
Credit: Marvel/Disney

Disney has announced that Black Widow will be released simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ on July 9 instead of May 7. The movie will be offered on Disney+ Premier Access and will come with a $30 rental fee.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Disneyland theme parks in California plan to reopen on April 30
Tomorrowland at Disneyland
Tomorrowland at Disneyland Credit: Justin Brown (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Walt Disney's two theme parks in California will reopen on April 30 to a limited number of guests. The company announced on Wednesday, over a year after they closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The resort includes the original Disneyland and the adjacent California Adventure theme parks.

Visitors aged 2 and up will need to wear masks, except when eating, drinking or swimming, and following other safety measures, including temperature checks before entering and social distancing on rides and throughout the parks.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Disneyland and baseball stadiums to reopen in California
Tomorrowland at Disneyland
Tomorrowland at Disneyland Credit: Justin Brown (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The California Department of Health gave Walt Disney’s Disneyland and other theme parks the go-ahead to reopen, limited to 15% and 35%, from April 1, after a closure of almost a year coronavirus pandemic. Masks and other safety measures will be required, and the parks initially will be open only to state residents.

Authorities also announced that outdoor stadiums and ballparks would also be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity on the same date.

Business • Economy
Disney to close 20% of its retail stores, shifts towards e-commerce
Disney Store in Toronto's Eaton Centre
Disney Store in Toronto's Eaton Centre Credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Disney has announced it will be closing 20% of its 300 retail stores in North America by the end of the year, hinting at additional closures and layoffs in the future. As the company closes its brick-and-mortar stores, it is working to improve its e-commerce business ShopDisney.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
'The Mandalorian' star Gina Carano is fired from the series over social media posts
Gina Carano during a San Diego Comic Con panel
Gina Carano during a San Diego Comic Con panel Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After the star of "The Mandalorian" and former mixed martial arts fighter received backlash online Wednesday for sharing a series of incendiary social media posts and memes mentioning Jeffrey Epstein and comparing conservatives in the U.S. to Holocaust victims, Lucasfilm confirmed that Gina Carano is no longer a part of the popular Disney+ show.

The news comes on the heels of the hashtag #FireGinaCarano trending on Twitter Wednesday as fans screen-grabbed the star's deleted posts, including an anti-Semitic Instagram story that she shared from another user that equivocated the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust to a disagreement over beliefs: "How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?"

Carano was a frequent guest star on "The Mandalorian" since the first season, often helping the title character on his mission to keep Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, safe from Imperial forces hunting the tiny alien creature.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Disney+ greenlights Wakanda series
Disney + Logo
Disney + Logo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

A series set in Wakanda is in development at Disney Plus. Ryan Coogler, who will develop the series, is already working on the Black Panther sequel, which begins filming later in 2021.

"Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation," Bob Iger, Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company said in a statement. "With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. In a statement for Proximity Media, Coogler described his experience on Black Panther as "a dream come true" and his excitement to further the relationship with The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios on "select MCU shows for Disney+."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
'Sister Act 3' production confirmed, Whoopi Goldberg to star and produce
'Sister Act 3' production confirmed, Whoopi Goldberg to star and produce
Credit: @Disney via Twitter

Disney has confirmed that production for 'Sister Act 3' has started, with Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role as Deloris Van Cartier and Tyler Perry set to produce the movie alongside Goldberg. The third installment of Sister Act will premiere ion Disney Plus, but no release date is known yet.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple releases App Store Best of 2020 winners
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance. Credit: Courtesy of Apple Newsroom

Apple has released its annual list of the best apps and games of 2020 on Wednesday, "recognizing 15 apps and games that proved to be essential for making life easier, healthier, and more connected this year."

Home exercise app 'Wakeout!' won iPhone App of the Year, while Zoom won iPad App of the Year and 'Disney+' was named Apple TV App of the Year. Genshin Impact,” “Legends of Runeterra,” “Disco Elysium,” “Dandara Trials of Fear,” and Apple Arcade’s “Sneaky Sasquatch” were crowned as best games of the year.

“This year, more than ever before, some of our most creative and connected moments happened in apps. This was thanks to the amazing work of developers who introduced fresh, helpful app experiences throughout the year,” so Apple Fellow Phil Schiller.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Disney+ reached 73.7 million paid subscribers
Disney+
Disney+ Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Launched one year ago, Disney+ reached 73.7 million paid subscribers as of early October, a jump from the 60.5 million subscribers the service had on August 3. The numbers are part of The Walt Disney Company’s fourth-quarter earnings report released Thursday.

CEO Bob Chapek said, in a statement, that "The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we're pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers - far surpassing our expectations in just its first year."

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Tatiana Maslany casts as title character in Marvel's She-Hulk
Tatiana Maslany casts as title character in Marvel's She-Hulk
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Tatiana Maslany has been cast as the title character of Marvel's She-Hulk series for Disney+. Maslany, who is known from Orphan Black, will be joined by Jessica Gao (Rick and Morty) as lead writer and Kat Coiro as director.

Business • Economy
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Credit: Coolcaesar / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Walt Disney Co. reports its first quarterly loss since 2001 largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a loss of $4.72 billion in its third fiscal quarter ending with June 27.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney had to close its theme parks and lost revenue from theatrical parks, live sports and movie distribution. However, due to people staying at home, Disney+ has gained over 60 million subscribers in less than nine months.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Mulan to premiere on Disney Plus
Mulan trailer image
Mulan trailer image Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the movie "Mulan" will premiere on the service on September 4 for $29.99. On markets where Disney Plus is not available, the film will be released theatrically.

The announcement was made on the company’s earnings call after the market close Tuesday.

Mulan was originally scheduled to debut in March but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was moved to July 24, then to August 21, and few weeks ago it was postponed indefinitely.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Disney postpones movie releases due to Covid-19 pandemic
Mulan trailer image
Mulan trailer image Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

The Walt Disney Company will not release several movies for the time being. The company announced it is postponing the premiere of Mulan indefinitely and is also pushing back the sequels to James Cameron's Avatar and the release of the Star Wars trilogy films by a year each.

Mulan was initially slated to be released in March, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was delayed to July and then to August.

Lifestyle • Travel
Disney World Florida reopens despite record Covid-19 numbers
Fireworks at Magic Kingdom, Disney World.
Fireworks at Magic Kingdom, Disney World. Credit: unsplash.com/Jaime Creixems

Disney World Florida is set to reopen its doors to visitors. The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks will open on Saturday, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios will follow on July 15. Disney will implement strict safety measures, including reduced capacity and mandatory face masks. The reopening comes as Florida is reporting record numbers of new Covid-19 infections in the last days, reaching 10,000 daily cases on Tuesday.

Lifestyle • Travel
All Asia Disney parks have reopened after 4-month closure
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan Credit: unsplash.com/Roméo A.

With the reopening of the Disney Resort in Tokyo, all of Disney's Asian parks have reopened as of July 1. Disneyland in Shanghai has opened its doors for visitors in May and Disneyland Hong Kong welcomed visitors back in June. Visitors have to follow social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Disneyland Tokyo and Japan's DisneySea parks have introduced further safety guidelines such as mandatory temperature checks, advanced ticket bookings and no physical interaction with actors.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Mulan release has been delayed to August
Mulan trailer image
Mulan trailer image Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Disney postponed the debut of its live-action movie Mulan to August 21. The picture was originally scheduled to debut in March but was moved to July 24 when the Covid-19 pandemic forced movie theaters around the world to close.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Disney re-brands Splash Mountain ride in theme parks with black Disney Princess
Disney re-brands Splash Mountain ride in theme parks with black Disney Princess
Credit: unsplash.com / Tomáš Nožina

After a petition had called for Disney to re-brand the log flume ride Splash Mountain as the story told is based "in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South", the company has announced that their project Imagineers haven been working on a re-branding since 2019. The new story will incorporate the black princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" a movie released in 2009 which fits into the theme of the park as the Splash Mountain ride is next to the New Orleans Square and the movie plays in the New Orleans bayou.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Disneyland Anaheim awaits guidelines, postpones reopening
Main Street USA at Disneyland
Main Street USA at Disneyland Credit: Theme Park Tourist (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Disneyland Anaheim theme park has been forced to postpone its July 17 reopening as Disney awaits reopening guidelines from the state of California.

According to a statement from Disneyland California has "indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4".

Disneyland also stated that "Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials".