Disney Streams 'Frozen 2' Early as Coronavirus Shakes Entertainment Landscape

Disney debuts 'Frozen 2' on its streaming service, three months earlier than planned, in response to the coronavirus.
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Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report rolled out blockbuster "Frozen 2" on its new streaming service three months earlier than originally planned as the multimedia giant scrambles to adjust to the coronavirus, which has boosted the importance of at-home entertainment.

Starting on Sunday, Disney made the hit animated movie available to subscribers of its Disney+ service, which the entertainment company launched last November amid a heated battle with Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report and Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report for the fast-growing streaming market.

Disney, which had originally planned to stream the movie on its new, Disney+ service in June, said it decided to move up the schedule "in hopes of surprising families with some fun and joy during this challenging period."

But the early release of "Frozen 2," which grossed nearly $1.5 billion at the box office, will also help Disney shore up programming on Disney+ at a time when its streaming service is more important than ever for the company's bottom line.

With the federal and state governments steadily tightening restrictions on businesses and public gatherings, Disney shut down over the weekend its iconic Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in California. 

For Disneyland, it is just the third shutdown in its history, having closed just twice before, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

"Frozen 2" will begin streaming on Disney+ beyond the U.S. on Tuesday, when it will become available to subscribers in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the company said.

Shares of Disney fell 9.41% to $92.87 a share on Monday amid the broader market selloff.