⚔️ Disney’s “Star Wars” snafu

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 by Snacks
A galactic check-in (Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images)

A galactic check-in (Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images)

A galactic check-in (Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images)

A galactic check-in (Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images)

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Hey Snackers,

“Professional TikTok Scroller” is no longer a joke: a marketing agency is offering three social-media obsessives $100/hr to watch vertical videos for 10 hours straight. Is the job… For You?

President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy met last night to discuss the ~~latest “Succession” episode~~ debt ceiling. Both described their latest talks as “productive” but still reached no deal. Treasury Secretary Yellen said June 1 is the “hard deadline” to increase the limit.


1. Disney’s (already) closing its immersive “Star Wars” hotel as superfans hit their splurging limits

Continental breakfast + lightsaber training… Disney's shutting down its immersive “Star Wars''-themed hotel less than two years after opening it. The high-end stay let fans of the intergalactic franchise to embark on a choose-your-own-adventure experience aboard the Halcyon Starcruiser, and it got rave reviews. The catch: tickets for a two-night stay started at $6K+ for a family of four and nearly $5K for couples. Visitor #s have dwindled, even after Disney began offering discounts to its most loyal customers.

  • The final frontier: Disney said it would stop accepting guests at the hotel this September and is modifying arrangements for fans who booked stays after the close.

  • Return of the Bob: The move comes just months after CEO Bob Iger laid out plans to cut Disney’s costs by $5B+ and slash 7K jobs to boost the bottom line.

Not-so-happiest place on Earth… Disney has tested its theme-park fans' budgets by hiking prices to make up for billions in lockdown-era losses. Last year the Mouse House raised admission prices twice, with hikes of up to 14% at Florida’s Magic Kingdom. FYI: nearly a third of Disney's revenue comes from its parks and experiences, which carried the company last quarter with 17% sales growth. But as Mickey merch and admission fees start to break the bank, even some superfans complained.


Magic has a price cap… Disney diehards are known for their loyalty, but even they have limits. In a poll last year, 68% of Disney fans said the parks had “lost their magic.” In March, Iger admitted that price hikes have been "a little too aggressive" and said the company plans to be smarter with pricing. The closure of the “Stars Wars” hotel shows that superfans have a breaking point.


2. Pfizer's pill outperforms the competition in trials as the weight-loss race heats up

A pill a day… keeps the injections away? A new Pfizer drug could shake up a weight-loss industry already undergoing an overhaul. A peer-reviewed study showed that, in phase-two clinical trials, patients taking Pfizer’s twice-daily pill lost a similar amount of weight as those taking Novo Nordisk's injectable Ozempic — but shed pounds almost twice as fast. Pfizer shares popped yesterday after the news.

  • Ozem-fluencers: Ozempic and a similar drug, Wegovy (also made by Novo Nordisk), have become associated with red-carpet celebs looking to lean down.

  • Off-label demand for Ozempic, which is FDA approved to treat type 2 diabetes but not weight loss, has led to shortages for people who rely on the drug to control their blood sugar.

Bulking up… If approved by the FDA, Pfizer’s pill could become a key player in a growing weight-loss industry supercharged by demand for blockbuster drugs. Last year Ozempic and Wegovy did about $10B in sales. Experts say that a similar drug from Eli Lilly could do $25B+ in annual revenue, and that the broader market could hit $100B in a decade. FYI: obesity affects over 40% of US adults.


Innovations can upend solid foundations… and the ground under the weight-loss industry — which racked up $76B in sales last year — is shaking. Case in point: last month, WW International (aka: WeightWatchers) finalized its purchase of Sequence, a telehealth that puts patients in touch with docs who can prescribe drugs like Wegovy, illustrating how quickly the OG industry has pivoted. If approved, a new generation of oral meds like Pfizer’s pill could again jolt the market.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Euro: EU regulators hammered Meta with a record $1.3B fine over its transfer of Europeans’ user data (Meta says it’ll appeal). The US and the EU are working on a privacy agreement for tech cos operating in the bloc.

  • TokOff: TikTok sued Montana over its TikTok ban, saying it violates free-speech rights. Separately, a group of creators also sued the Treasure State. The suits could set legal precedents for other states considering bans.

  • Thirst: Arizona, California, and Nevada agreed to cut back their H20 use in exchange for $1.2B from the federal gov’t. The goal: slow the drying of the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water to 40M Americans.

  • Ground: A federal judge ordered American Airlines and JetBlue to end their “Northeast Alliance,” which lets them share sales and gates on NYC and Boston routes. The DOJ said the partnership is bad for competition.

  • Allowance: PayPal said that teens would soon be able to join its Venmo app and get a debit card… with parent approval and monitoring. It’s the latest company to create a product for cash-reliant kids and teens.

Snack Fact of the Day

It’s illegal in the US to trade onion futures


  • Earnings expected from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lowe’s, BJ’s Wholesale, AutoZone, Williams-Sonoma, and Urban Outfitters

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Disney

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