1:30pm PT by Paul Bond
Disney CEO Hints at 'Black Panther' Theme Park Addition
Black Panther is "an important moment in culture," Disney CEO Bob Iger told Wall Street analysts on Monday. He even suggested there could be a ride based on the movie some day.
Iger said at an investor conference that there's a one-hour line to meet the Black Panther walkaround character at Disneyland. "No ride?" he was asked.
"No. We haven't had a chance to build a ride," the exec said with a chuckle. "Though I'm sure there are people who are working on it."
Iger said Disney has 11 billion-dollar franchises, so many that "we're competing with ourselves," and Black Panther should make the 12th. "I pretty much guarantee that this coming Halloween and even Christmas, you know you'll be seeing a lot of Black Panther merchandise."
The CEO, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, said he's confident Disney will get regulatory approval for its $52.4 billion acquisition of most of the assets of 21st Century Fox, and he will then use some of Fox's content for the launch of Disney's Netflix-like streaming service. The National Geographic channel would fit nicely, for example.
Iger said Disney's OTT offering will have less volume than Netflix but more branded product, including Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar. And he said that if more Americans turn to the skinny bundle, it's "a good thing" for Disney because they will have more money to spend on both the Disney service and the ESPN service that could launch in about a month.
When the Disney OTT product launches late next year, it will feature an Avengers movie, Toy Story 4, the next Frozen, Aladdin and Dumbo exclusively in the pay window. It will also have 5,000 episodes of Disney-branded TV, library movies and as many as five original shows and five original movies.
As for ESPN's upcoming service, the exec said that eventually it will feature narrowed offerings, so a consumer, for example, could buy every game played by a certain team, every game in a sport or every game in a particular season.
Iger said Disney needs to "thrive in a fully disrupted world" by participating "in the very business that is doing the disruption."