We're kicking off a holiday weekend, and entertainment companies are hoping to reach large audiences ahead of the telltale summer season. Theme parks, streaming services, and multiplexes are hoping the next few months are lucrative, and Walt Disney (DIS 0.09%), Netflix (NFLX -0.83%), and AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC 0.45%) feel that there is no time like the present.
There's a new Disney World and Disney+ series for the House of Mouse. A popular series is back with a new season -- part of a new season, anyway -- on Netflix. AMC hopes that the reboot of a classic action franchise will kick off a promising summer season. With the stocks down 43%, 72%, and 83% respectively from last year's highs, they can use the good news. Let's check out Friday's coming attractions.
A lot of firsts will happen when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind officially opens at Disney World's Epcot on Friday. It will be the park's first roller coaster and its first Marvel-themed ride. Epcot will now be the recipient of the last two new rides to open at Disney World. The unique thrill ride is going to be a big draw for visitors this summer.
For those who want to stay at home, Disney also has something for you on Friday. Obi-Wan Kenobi -- the widely anticipated Star Wars spin-off series -- debuts on Disney+. The first two episodes drop on Friday, with weekly installments to follow. It was a Star Wars spin-off that put the streaming service on the map. The Mandalorian was the first big hit on Disney+. Compelling content keeps subscribers close, and the media giant knows that expectations are high for its premium streaming platform.
Speaking of subscriber engagement, Stranger Things is back on Netflix. The first half of the fourth season of the popular series will be available on Friday. The second half will hit the platform on July 1.
Netflix is evolving. It used to brag about consumers' ability to binge an entire season when it comes out, knocking traditional media for its weekly spoonfuls of content. Now it's splitting a popular show into two volumes. It did the same thing recently with the final season of Ozark.
Spacing out a popular show's season makes sense for Netflix right now. It stunned the market last month with a rare sequential dip in subscribers for the first quarter. It's bracing investors for an even bigger sequential decline for the current quarter. Launching a new season of one of its most iconic shows -- and holding back on the second half of the episodes until the start of the third quarter -- can't be a coincidence.
The original Top Gun had everyone singing Hall & Oates' "You've Lost that Loving Feeling," but multiplex operators are hoping they can stop singing that to their audiences. Box office receipts have been dreadful this year, down 43% from where they were at this point in 2019. The comparisons get worse if we go back to 2018 and 2017.
Despite strong openings for The Batman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, consumers aren't coming out to the corner movie house to see anything that isn't an action-filled blockbuster. Top Gun: Maverick opens this weekend, and it promises to hit all of the right notes. It's an action flick. It will tap the nostalgia vein. More importantly for AMC and other movie theater stocks, it's the first of many big movies set to hit the silver screen this summer.