The Walt Disney Co.’s shares closed Wednesday at their lowest price since before the House of Mouse began releasing “Star Wars” films, as a massive 2022 decline wiped away all their pandemic-era gains and a bit more.
The last time Disney stock closed lower was on Oct. 14, 2014, as “Guardians of the Galaxy” was wrapping up a surprising run at the box office and Disney was preparing to launch “Big Hero 6” into theaters. It would be more than a year before Disney released “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the first “Star Wars” movie produced and released by Disney.
The launch of “The Force Awakens” completed an acquisition-fueled reshaping of Disney’s intellectual property that propelled shares to new heights, which were only briefly interrupted by pandemic fears in March 2020. Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, leading to years of big box-office returns.
Those acquisitions looked just as prescient when Disney sought to challenge Netflix Inc. NFLX,
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That success sent Disney stock to a peak of more than $200 a share in March 2021, after then-Chief Executive Bob Chapek revealed early streaming success for Disney+. But 2022 has been a very different story, eventually hitting its nadir when Disney missed revenue expectations by nearly $1 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter and executives offered a disappointing forecast for the new year.
Disney’s board reacted by dismissing Chapek and bringing back his predecessor, Robert Iger, as CEO. Iger was at the helm when Disney acquired the lucrative Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar intellectual property, and oversaw the creation and launch of Disney+ before handing the reins over to Chapek.
Disney’s box-office success currently rides on a more recent acquisition, the $52.4 billion purchase of film and TV assets from 21st Century Fox FOXA,
Disney is the 46th S&P 500 index SPX,
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