Disney finds itself hurt more than other studios when it comes to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being the largest film/TV studio in the world, owning roughly 40% of last year’s domestic box office, the Mouse House also owns and operates various theme parks that have been shut down, as well as other forms of income not tied to film/TV projects. No one is 100% sure of the total revenue losses being experienced right now by Disney, but it’s crippling enough that the company has begun notifying a number of employees that they are being furloughed for the foreseeable future.
According to THR, as of April 19, an undisclosed number of Disney media employees, spread over all the various film and TV branches of the studio, are going to be without jobs and pay for the foreseeable future. The people affected are said to be largely from the marketing and distribution aspects of the company, along with others whose “jobs aren’t necessary at this time.”
A Disney statement reads:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices. Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses. Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation.”
After April 18, those furloughed will cease receiving wages and salaries, but they will still have access to healthcare coverage, with the employee premiums being covered by Disney, and will be able to file for the stimulus benefits that are being offered through the recent $2.2 trillion relief package that was passed by the government. Obviously, folks were prepared to see Disney furlough members of the theme park staff, but this initiative is hitting workers in the film/TV side of things, as well.
Again, we don’t have specific numbers, but the report claims that staff at Disney and its various subsidiaries, such as Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disney’s own live-action studio, Walt Disney Animation Studios, 20th Century and Searchlight, are all being affected by these furloughs. And with no end in sight to the social distancing regulations, and theater chains likely staying closed until June, at the earliest, this furlough could last weeks.