Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big-scale concepts to your own business. And I’m Nicole.
And today we are here to talk to you about how Disney plus leverage home viewings to distribute their theatrical releases and what you can learn from it. So this topic comes up because as of our recording day Scarlett Johannson has actually settled the lawsuit that she had with Disney back in July. If you’re not familiar, let me fill you in on the T so to speak. So Scarlett Johannson sued Disney because Black Widow didn’t actually stay in theaters. As long as I think they initially planned it to pre-pandemic when they shot everything. And as a result, her royalties that would have come from the theatrical release were reduced. So she sued Disney because basically, you know, she didn’t make like the revenue that she was expecting because they distributed it through Disney plus. And she said that that cannibalize, what you could have made from the theater now Disney shot back and essentially said, you know, that’s really uncool because we had to do this to distribute the film because of the pandemic and it wasn’t safe for people to go into theater.
So the fact that she’s not taking this into consideration is really sad, which, you know, she came back and said, or her people came back and said like, you know, you’re, you’re twisting this. It’s not about the pandemic, but it’s about you not sticking to the deal. Well, it turns out that they came to a settlement and everything is hunky Dory. She’s still gonna be Black Widow. She’s still going to be working with Disney on upcoming features. And we don’t know what the terms of the settlement are. And we’re not here to speculate about that right now. But what we do want to talk about is how Disney essentially, you know, had all of these movies that were coming up in theaters and the pandemic happened and you know, you couldn’t actually go out and see these movies. They tried postponing them. But when it turned out that, you know, coronavirus was kind of like here to stay back in like 20, 20, 20, 21, they really needed to change something up because their parks were closed.
They weren’t bringing in revenue there. Now their fear division and or their movie division is like bringing in like basically $0 from all these blockbusters that were due to come out and they needed to pivot. So they did that with Milan. And we actually talked about this a while back about how, you know, Disney had really great success with offering Mulan on Disney plus as a home premiere. And it, for those of you who don’t have Disney plus, and who’ve not invested in the home premiere, basically you pay Nicole, let me know how much it is in the states, but in Canada it’s like 30 bucks and you get to, Yeah. So it’s about the same. And so you get to watch the movie in the comfort of your own home, which has some benefits. Nicole, why don’t we talk about some of the benefits that came from?
Yeah. I mean, there’s so many angles to this, between the lawsuit, the pandemic, the whole existence of Disney plus, I mean, come on. I mean, Disney was working on this for years, obviously because they were acquiring things like star wars and Marvel and Nat geo, and they were kind of leading up to this Disney plus, you know, streaming software and how fortuitous of them to have launched it two, three months before the pandemic. So they even had this option. So there’s just so many different facets. We can take this from. So, you know, the lawsuit, she lost revenue because her agreement, it sounds like from what we can get from reports is that she had, you know, a set fee that they paid and then she would get royalties off of the box office numbers in theaters. And because of the way contracts were written, it didn’t include box office releases as the Disney plus release.
So everyone’s spending $30 to watch Black Widow through Disney plus didn’t necessarily get in her hands. And, you know, there are definitely people who were concerned about the pandemic, or maybe we didn’t have vaccines yet. I don’t know quite the timeframe of when Black Widow came out. I think it was just after people were starting to get vaccinated, at least in the US and state chose to stay home, instead of going to the movies to see this. And she didn’t get a cut that she might’ve gotten have they gone. So that’s, you know, one argument, but on the other side of the table, as someone who doesn’t go to the movies very often, even before COVID because it’s $20 a person and you’ve got to eat a meal beforehand. And if it’s something like Marvel that you can’t bring your kids to, you have to hire a babysitter.
And it just turns out to be so expensive that I don’t watch the movies until they come out in some other fashion to be able to be rented from Redbox or anything like that. And so there’s revenue coming in from people who wouldn’t have gone to the movies too. So there’s all sorts of ways to look at this. And I think what’s important from a business perspective is making sure your contracts have some wiggle room for how things need to be applied later, but also to not be afraid that if you do break your contract, that that means it’s the end of the world. Clearly they’ve come to a settlement together. They’ve recognized that there were issues on both sides of the table with this, and it’s amicable enough that they’re going to continue working together. I mean, they even mentioned a project for the haunted mansion movie. So they’re, don’t be afraid of contracts. Don’t be afraid of having to change your contracts. They exist. So terms are clear and then there’s mediation when something has to happen. So I think there’s some something to be learned about, like taking a few risks to outside of the comfort zone,
For sure. And then the other angle that we want to talk about is you know, a lot of us had to pivot in our businesses. Over the past two years, I can speak to like our experience with pixie dust and profits. I mean, we had our first live scheduled in August actually, no, we had it scheduled in February, but we had to postpone it. And like, frankly it’s because I was a dumb person and thought that, you know, three months after having a baby, I’d be okay to travel and isolate needed to recover from my C-section and everything that went on. So we ended up postponing it to August and that was right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. And we just, in March, we called them, we didn’t feel safe. We were concerned and sure enough, Disney ended up closing and by August they would have opened up, but it wouldn’t have been the experience. So you want to deliver nor do we necessarily feel comfortable, you know, making everyone come out in the middle of a pandemic, to a house where we all would’ve stayed together
At that point, vaccines were not even like that. It wasn’t on the horizon. No one knew how long anything would take. I mean, hindsight, maybe I would’ve gone. And if we had masks and we knew how to handle it, but there’s definitely a certain level of comfort that came with hosting an event like this after vaccination happened. And so you have that first, that first pixie dust live, we had to immediately pivot and figure out a new way of,
Yeah. And not only did it end up resulting in a different product and a new product, it changed how we ended up doing future pixie dust and profit lives, including the one that’s happening in October will have happened by the time you hear this. So first thing we did was we took the curriculum online. The first retreat was really focused on walking you through a set curriculum that Nicole and I designed, it’s the exact same one that we go through with, you know, our six and seven figure clients. When we have these like focus VIP sessions with them. And it’s really intended to help you work through the current, you know, blocks in your business, get focused and then come up with a plan to actually action, the things that you want to achieve upon. Right? So we delivered that online and ended up being a four week experience instead of like, you know, a three or four day experience.
And when it came to actually doing the next VC that’s in profits live, you know, we realized that that was a lot of material to go through short period of time. And you know, it works well maybe when there’s like two of us and one person over a weekend, and we have a ton of follow-up afterwards because part of our existing relationship with our clients. But when, you know, you’re there for like a three or four day period, you’re going to want some support afterwards. So we actually turn that content into a program and pixels and profits live is now focused on community connection and masterminding. So we don’t necessarily follow a set curriculum because in fact, a lot of the ladies attending have already gone through the program. And this way we’re able to really customize what we’re talking about to the challenges are facing in their business right then and there, and work through it together with like Nicole and I, but also as a group. And we get to take advantage of all the fun there is to have the parks and basically have Nicole and IB or tour guides dropping all this Disney knowledge as we walk about magic kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood studios, and animal kingdom. Yeah.
Yeah. I would say that the first pixie dust lab that we had planned was very curriculum-based and we had it loose. So that way, you know, if it took longer to go over the first few sections, fine, the last sections could be distributed later. But I would say that the pixie dust experience part of that was in the after hours, it wasn’t necessarily incorporated in, it was very much envisioned that we would be together and working together during the day and we’d go have fun at night. And what this has done is it’s brought the program online. And so we can give out pieces of it as needed to these mastermind clients. If they’re in a spot that they need those resources and materials, but the real focus of pixie dust live now has shifted. And it’s the magic is throughout the entire event.
It’s not just like on the fringes of the event and it’s going to be amazing by the time this ears we’ll have done it. And you’ll probably have a recap episode and you’ll probably have followed along with us on Instagram at pixie Destin profits. But I also want to share a little bit about behind the scenes, just talking about like the contract stuff we talked about earlier. So when we initially sold pixie dust live the pen demic didn’t exist as we knew it when those tickets were sold. And so our terms and conditions stated that we in the event that the event cannot be held to like a similar or related level product would be offered. And so it was already built into the terms and conditions to cover us for a similar level of service. And, you know, three or four days with us with the curriculum we had planned, we did four weeks, lots of coaching.
We even had one-on-ones with a couple people which weren’t all things that were originally planned, but we really wanted to make sure we brought a magical event to everyone, even though it had to be digital. So we had gifts sent like every other week there was something sent in the mail to everybody because they would’ve gotten gifts in person. And we already had a lot of things ordered at that point. And so, you know, we shifted, even though the contract was in place and something different was the original intent. Everyone was very understanding. And it’s just the lesson that like things can shift and sometimes they have to, and you just get creative and magical.
So one other thing that I want to talk about is, as you’re looking at your business and these changes that you made, what’s going to stick around in the future. So I’m gonna pull up an example. That’s very like, [inaudible], I think
It’s a little related, you’ve got to take an
Airplane to get to. Yeah. So back in 2008, when we had the recession, a lot of airlines were underwater because people weren’t traveling as much. And in order to sort of like make back their money, once things picked up, they started like upcharging for everything. And, you know, we’ve actually talked about this in a previous episode, there’s been a bit of nickel and diming at Disney too. So maybe it is a little Disney ish, but essentially what these airports did is like, you know, the extra fees that you pay on some airlines to check your luggage for seat, selection, food, all these things that used to be included in the cost of your fare. Well, it’s all that they are still struggling for profits. When they’re charging you, she stopped people got used to paying for them. So they’re like, well, okay, let’s just continue charging.
So, you know, they’re in a position where they needed the money back then and people just stopped objecting and complaining, so they never stopped charging for it. So we don’t necessarily want to be like airlines and like take advantage of our customers. But as you pivot, if you see like the value in an adopted service offering or product, because of the changes you have to make during the pandemic, like taking something virtual you know, even maybe changing up like how you produce your product, because you had issue with sourcing like your goods, because of all the shipping delays and stuff that were happening all over the world, or like closures of factories, w let’s focus on the good that sort of came with it and how we were able to repackage that value to our customers and see how we can implement it in our businesses on an ongoing basis to provide an alternate offer.
So example, Disney’s going to continue doing home premiers. Like it’s a no brainer for them. It serves an audience and a market that they probably wouldn’t have reached with theatrical releases in the like historically. And, you know, like Nicole said, parents, for example, being able to like watch it at home and not have to stress about babysitters, my kid crying, or having to go to the stars and strollers showing in the middle of the day where I have to like block off time for work, because that’s the only sort of like social acceptable time to take your baby to a theater because all the kids are crying there. It’s exclusively for parents and small kids. Like that’s a game changer for us. We can just like, watch it at home. And once we have it, we can watch it as many times as we want.
And Disney plus, as long as their subscription is still active, but it just, it’s a different offering and they’re tapping into new markets. So what market are you tapping into by bringing your services to a virtual experience or by, you know, changing up how you’re producing things because of having to go through alternate suppliers, let’s investigate that and see what we can stick with moving forward, because, you know, you might be able to bring back like the in-person experience or how you originally delivered your service in the future. Maybe you’re doing it now, but there’s probably going to be an audience for that virtual experience moving forward, because we just got so used to doing everything online.
I think we can all think of something that we hope doesn’t go away. You know, for me there there’s big things. My child’s getting more outdoor time during the school day that I don’t ever want to see going away. But then there’s also little things like curbside pickup. And not necessarily I don’t use the curbside pickup as much, but I think that just like order ahead for even like mom and pop restaurants and stuff like that, I love it. It also forces me to leave the house to go get my food, but I think it’s really important to keep everything Yasmine set in mind while you’re thinking about the strategies of your product placement of your product development, how you’re going to market these things going forward, because you might, you might keep this in the back of your head while you’re developing products.
So I’m sure Disney, at some point when things are more back to normal than they already are, they’re probably not going to early release the, you know, rated R or on the borderline titles for the Disney plus early viewing, right? They’re not going to make these choices in a vacuum. They’re going to know in the back of the head hula audiences that ops into the $30 Alexis pass and who the audiences that goes to the movie theater. And so kids titles, I fully anticipate that those are going to be the ones that come out early on Disney plus rather than the theater, right. Families just are a different audience entirely. And maybe they started charging more. I mean, $30 is the price point where it’s about a family of three, right? That’s how much it’ll cost all three of us to go to a matinee showing of the kids’ movie.
So it’s kind of a postcard, no popcorn, no snacks sneak it in or whatever you need to do. Personally speaking, I love the at-home option because my child gets really anxious about movies. And if I don’t know the movie going in, I can’t really give him a heads up of what might happen, or we can’t really have those discussions until after the movie because something might happen and we can pause it at home and immediately discuss how he’s feeling or anything like that. And at the movie theater, we just don’t have that option. And I think we’ve probably only seen a handful of movies at the theater with him. And so there’s an audience for it and they are going to keep it in mind for every single title. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a line item now that’s like, well, this be an early release. Yes. Now, and they’ll have that discussion early on. And so take the things you’ve learned over the last two years. I can’t believe I’m saying that over the last almost two years, I keep the things that work and keep the things in the back of your head while you were making strategies for your 2022 plans.
Well, thanks again for joining us for another episode. You know, we’d love to hear what you change during the pandemic and what you’re keeping in your business as we move forward into 2022. So you can tag us on Instagram, we’re at pixie dust and profits. You can also send us an email, hello at big sales and profits. If you just want to share, or you can send us a text message at 207-203-6769. Yes, it is us your fairy business godmothers on the other line answering any business question, you have a great way to, you know, pick her brains. Even though I kind of hate that phrase. So lastly, if you liked this episode and you want to support us, check out our Patreon, it’s https://pixiedustandprofits.com/patreon. There are multiple ways that you can show your support and even some ways where you can get access to, you know, live Q and A’s with us. So if you want to dig into a topic and a little bit more detail, that’s the best way to do it. Thanks again. And we’ll see you real soon.