During the Walt Disney Company’s quarterly earning call, CEO Bob Iger revealed a future addition to Disneyland.
In discussing the $2.2 billion box office results for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Iger said:
The global popularity of this film will result in the creation of more opportunities for fans to engage with the franchise, which they have been doing at Walt Disney World’s Pandora, the World of Avatar, as well as in theaters globally and on Disney+, where the first film has delivered very strong numbers. And today, I am thrilled to announce that we will be bringing an exciting Avatar experience to Disneyland. We will be sharing more details on that very soon.
Later in the call, Iger mentioned the existing Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom as “great example” of a new theme park land paying off as an investment, and said Disneyland would get “a version” of that experience. No other details were offered.
Disney doesn’t typically announce new attractions during its earnings call. The reveal of a popular franchise heading to Disneyland distracted from less positive news during the call — namely, layoffs. Iger said that as part of $5.5 billion in cost cuts, 7,000 employees would lose their jobs, making up about 3 percent of the company’s 220,000-person workforce.
“While this is necessary to address the challenges we are facing today, I do not make this decision lightly,” Iger said.
The Parks, Experiences, and Products division was one of the bright spots for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Revenue increased year-over-year by 21 percent, to $8.7 billion, and operating income rose by 25 percent, to $3.05 billion.
“To date, park attendance at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort are pacing above prior year, and based on reservation bookings we expect to see this trend continue,” Disney chief financial officer McCarthy said.
Disney’s Media and Entertainment division, which includes the Disney+ streaming service, was heading in the opposite direction financially. It reported a $10 million loss in operating income.
Neither Iger nor McCarthy detailed how the layoffs would be distributed throughout the company, including how theme parks may be affected. However, spending cuts will affect the parks, as McCarthy said the company is reducing its capital expenditures budget — which covers construction projects like new attractions — by $700 million across Disney World and Disneyland.
Those cutbacks come at the same time that Disney’s chief theme park rival is increasing its investments. Universal’s parent company Comcast announced on its earnings call last month that it was increasing its capital expenditures by $1.2 billion in 2023 as it builds a third Orlando theme park, Epic Universe, a newly-announced Las Vegas horror attraction and a Frisco, Texas family theme park.