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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