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3 Dates for Disney Stock Investors to Circle in August

By Rick Munarriz – Aug 2, 2021 at 10:05AM

Key Points

  • The media giant reports earnings after the market close on Aug. 12.
  • A scaled-back after-hours Halloween event at Disney World kicks off next week.
  • "Cruella" hits the Disney+ streaming service for all subscribers by the end of the month.

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Earnings, a new seasonal event, and a big movie hitting Disney+ will play starring roles this month.

There's never a dull moment for the House of Mouse. Walt Disney (DIS -0.01%) is going to have a busy August. It's kicking off a new seasonal event at Disney World, announcing important financial results, and making one of this year's biggest films more accessible to a wider audience. 

There's no time to slumber. Let's go over three of the dates that will matter for the industry bellwether in August. 

Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Halloween attire.

Image source: Disney.

Aug. 10

It's too hot and too early to be thinking about Halloween, but don't tell Disney World that it's too soon for a Halloween event. The Disney After Hours Boo Bash kicks off next week, running after the park's normal closing time on select nights starting Aug. 10. It's an early start even by theme park standards, as Disneyland's after-hours event doesn't start until four weeks later. 

The new premium-priced event at Disney World replaces the more ambitious Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but -- in a shrewd supply-and-demand gamble -- Disney is charging even more this year than it did for the longer and more full-featured Halloween event. 

Don't be surprised if things don't go according to plan. The Florida resort is facing a record number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates for the Sunshine State. Last Friday it began requiring that all guests regardless of vaccination status start wearing masks in all indoor attractions. Disney is unlikely to cancel the hard-ticket event, but keep an eye on the situation. 

Aug. 12

Disney reports its fiscal third-quarter results after next Thursday's market close. The year-over-year comparisons will be kind. Analysts see a 43% increase in revenue, mostly the result of Disney's theme park and studio entertainment segments contracting sharply a year ago. The bottom-line gain should be even more robust. 

Beyond the numbers, investors will want to look for any metrics that the media giant may announce. Is Disney+ subscriber growth decelerating? Can Disney's theme parks business turn a profit the way its closest rival just did? Is it gaining or losing viewers for its legacy media networks? 

There are always big questions heading into any earnings report. Let's see if Disney provides the answers that the market wants to hear.

Aug. 27

If you missed Cruella when it hit movie theaters over Memorial Day weekend -- and that's a lot of us, since just 3% of the country saw it at a multiplex -- you'll get a chance by the end of this month to check it out. The live-action origin story of 101 Dalmatians' iconic villain becomes available to Disney+ subscribers at no additional cost on Aug. 27.

Disney has an interesting strategy when it comes to theatrical distribution during the pandemic. If it's a low-key release it will make it available on its Disney+ streaming service right away. For some of its more high-profile flicks -- including Black Widow last month and Cruella -- Disney is giving families the opportunity to pay $29.99 for exclusive streaming access to the movie through what it calls Disney+ Premier Access for three months before it's available to all of the flagship service's subscribers.  

It will be interesting to see if Disney's approach changes when the COVID-19 pandemic finally ends. Every entertainment stock has taken a different approach to how it distributes new movies, and time will tell which media giant had the best strategy. 

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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