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Disney gets stock bump after talking Fortnite, Taylor Swift, Moana

Disney says it will invest $1.5 billion in Epic Games.
Disney says it will invest $1.5 billion in Epic Games.

Disney's stock got an early boost Thursday morning following the company's announcement in an earnings call late Wednesday that it will invest $1.5 billion in a partnership with Epic Games, makers of Fortnite.

CEO Bob Iger called the agreement with Epic, Disney's "biggest entry into video games."

After learning the breadth of the demographics for video games and the amount of time consumers spend playing them, Iger said he concluded, "We have to be there and we have to be there as soon as we possibly can in a very compelling way." The Epic partnership will allow consumers to play and create games based on content and characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.

Among the other announcements made during the Disney call:

  • Taylor Swift heads to Disney+

The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version) concert film will head to Disney+, in an exclusive streaming debut, on March 15. The film will include the song "cardigan" and four additional acoustic songs that Iger says "were not in the theatrical or digital purchase release of the film."

  • Moana sequel in November

The original Moana was the "most streamed movie on any platform in the U.S." in 2023, according to Iger. As a result, he says a feature length animated sequel will get a theatrical release in November, "This was originally developed as a series, but we were impressed with what we saw and we knew it deserved a theatrical release."

  • New platform for live sports

Disney's ESPN, FOX and Warner Bros. Discovery are creating a one-stop shop for online sports that would include the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NASCAR, college sports, Grand Slam Tennis and more. NPR's Eric Deggans compares it to the creation of Hulu by different TV networks back in 2007. Deggans says the platform will allow these companies "to control how live sports migrates over to streaming... And it's going to help them compete with rivals like Amazon and Netflix, who have the financial resources of Silicon Valley."

This story was edited by Meghan Sullivan.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.