On Sunday, Walt Disney (DIS 0.33%) surprised its Disney+ members by releasing Frozen 2 three months ahead of schedule, "surprising families with some fun and joy during this challenging period," the company said in a press release. 

Frozen is one of the most popular animated franchises of all time, becoming an instant classic after its release in 2013. The sequel brought in over $1.4 billion at the box office worldwide last year, according to Box Office Mojo, beating the original's $1.28 billion and making Frozen 2 the rare sequel in Hollywood that proves more popular than the first release. 

Two pairs of feet with socks, in front of a television.

Image source: Getty Images.

Streaming services should thrive in this environment

Obviously, with more people staying at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Disney is hoping it can gain more subscribers who otherwise would not sign up yet. The House of Mouse could use some extra momentum, with its theme parks essentially shut down, similar to sporting events and retail stores around the country.

While Disney is suffering in the short term over park closures, its Disney+ streaming service is in the process of launching in India and some countries in Europe this month. At nearly 29 million subscribers as of early February, the service is still only scratching the surface of its potential. 

This is an environment where digital services should see higher than normal engagement, and it certainly helps Disney to own some of the entertainment industry's most valuable intellectual property.