Halloween has come and gone, and it's a new month for the world's most watched media company. Walt Disney (DIS 3.49%) has a lot moving parts, and every month is a busy one for the House of Mouse.
There's never a dull moment when it comes to Disney. This new month brings us a telltale earnings release, but it also has some theatrical and potential theme park debuts to keep an eye on. Let's see some of the November dates that investors will want to watch.
The next Disney film to hit the silver screen should be one of the biggest box office winners of 2021. Marvel's Eternals hits theaters this weekend. The film -- about alien superheroes trying to save Earth from destruction -- has gotten mixed initial reviews. Just 60% of the early film critics are recommending the flick, but it's a Marvel release with a star-studded cast. It's going to rake in audiences.
The timing of the movie's release is great. COVID-19 cases are starting to recede, making people more comfortable going out to the local multiplex. The country's three highest-grossing movies in 2021 are all Marvel movies, and Eternals will benefit from the recently revised release strategy. Eternals will play exclusively at movie theaters for 45 days, so it's not as if folks can legally stream it from home.
It's earnings season, and Disney gets to punch Wall Street's dance card next week. Disney's financial update -- for its fiscal fourth quarter and therefore all of fiscal 2021 -- will take place shortly after the market close on Wednesday of next week.
Analysts see Disney clocking in with $16.27 billion in revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter, 10% more than the $14.71 billion it delivered on the top line a year earlier. With so many of Disney's businesses in better shape now than a year earlier, a 10% year-over-year increase may seem conservative. Wall Street pros are banking on a profit of $0.44 a share for the quarter to reverse a year-ago deficit.
It's not just the top- and bottom-line results that will dictate the market's reaction to the report. Everything from theme park resort bookings to Disney+ subscriber trends will dictate which way the media stock bellwether moves next week.
Eternals isn't the only likely blockbuster that Disney's iconic studio is putting out this month. Encanto hits theaters the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The full-length animated feature details an enchanted Colombian mountain town in crisis.
Lin-Manuel Miranda continues his partnership with Disney in Encanto. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend served Disney well with Frozen in 2013 and Frozen II in 2019. A hit film here can translate into big merchandising opportunities heading into the holidays, and beyond that with future video releases, theme park tie-ins, and more.
Disney is raising the bar when it comes to theme park visitor monetization. The arrival of Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane+ at Disney World on Oct. 19 adds premium access to expedited queues. It is expected to follow suit at Disneyland in California later this fall.
Genie+ -- the program where guests pay $15 for in-app access to reserve one-hour return times for the rebranded Lightning Lanes -- was controversial in Disney World when it rolled out two weeks ago. However, it will seem vaguely familiar to the MaxPass program that was popular at the West Coast resort. Lightning Lane+ is an add-on premium offering to access the expedited queue for some of the most in-demand attractions at the park.
We don't know when in the fall Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane+ will become available. Nov. 30 is just a placeholder here since Disney should offer some news on the rollout at some point later this month.