Disney Cancels Disney+ European Launch Event Over Coronavirus Fears

Disney has been forced to scrap plans for a glitzy European press launch for Disney+ in London this week after the event became one of the latest industry gatherings to be hit by coronavirus fears.

Disney was hosting the party at the Exhibition London event space on March 5 to “celebrate the European launch of Disney+.” It was set to include “exclusive” presentations from key executives and creative heads, while a number of special guests were expected to attend.

However, the company has axed the event, which was expected to host hundreds of people, over fears of the global pandemic, which has so far killed over 3,000 people with over 90,000 infected. Instead, Disney will promote the Disney+ launch through social media and press notices. The company will also showcase the streaming service to select journalists during a demo in central London on Friday.

Disney said: “Due to a number of media attendee cancellations and increasing concerns at the prospect of traveling internationally at this time, we have decided to cancel our Disney+ launch events scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday.”

Earlier today, Disney unveiled a “multi-year” distribution deal with Sky that would allow Sky subscribers to access the service via their existing set-top boxes. The service is set to launch in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland on March 24 with further launches in Western Europe markets, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal, following in summer 2020.

The slate of Disney+ Originals from launch includes The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Diary of a Future President, The World According To Jeff Goldblum and Marvel’s Hero Project.

However, the European launch was set to clear up some of the confusion as to whether Disney+ would have access to all seasons of shows such as The Simpsons in the UK. Earlier today, a Sky spokesman said that it will have access to the show on a “co-exclusive” basis for the foreseeable future and Disney later tweeted a Simpsons-style donut suggesting it might be available on Disney+ at launch.