Profit at Disney’s movie studio leaps to $313M

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Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios

Strong ticket sales to such films as “Brave” helped third-quarter profit at Disney’s movie studio zoom to $313 million from $49 million a year ago.

But studio revenue rose only 0.3 percent to $1.63 billion, off from the $1.77 billion that analysts expected. A major factor was smaller revenue from DVD and Blu-ray disc sales than a year earlier.

Disney reported an overall profit of $1.83 billion ($1.01 a share) for the quarter ended June 30, up from $1.48 billion (77 cents a share) a year earlier. Revenue rose 3.9% to $11.09 billion.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger said that attendance at Disney California Adventure made up about half of the visits to its Anaheim, California parks, up from only a quarter in 2011. The increase came shortly after the June unveiling of an overhaul costing at least $1 billion that included the addition of an area based on Pixar’s Cars.

Revenue in the parks and resorts sector was up 9 percent to $3.44 billion, aided by a full quarter of operations of the Disney Fantasy, its newest cruise ship, greater Disneyland attendance and higher ticket prices. Parks results were hurt last year by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Net income for the three months ended June 30 rose 24 percent to $1.83 billion, or $1.01 per share. That beat the 93 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.09 billion, well short of the $11.32 billion expected by analysts.

Iger said that he thinks Disney’s movie studio will see better results.

“We feel good about our slate. We do believe were going to continue to improve returns on that business led by the franchises and the big brand power of our films,” he said Tuesday in a conference call with analysts.

Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente said that the studio’s strong results and good expectations for its upcoming lineup are important because movie profits are usually unpredictable.

“It’s the gift that’s going to keep on giving. The more optimistic view is to look at this studio-driven beat as being higher quality than it would normally be,” he said.

Disney’s shares fell 44 cents to $49.39 in after-hours trading. They closed in regular trading up 16 cents at $49.81 before the report.

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