The Walt Disney Company‘s magic in Wonderland is translating into profits in the real world as the House of Mouse reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on the back of higher revenues from its movie studios.
Disney reported operating income at its movie studios of $223 million for the quarter ended April 3, up from $13 million a year ago. That figure was thanks to almost $1 billion in global box-office sales for Alice In Wonderland and an upbeat start for Iron Man 2, which grossed $334 million around the world in its first two weeks.
“The studio is an Iron Man,” wrote analysts at RBC Capital Markets. “Prince of Persia and Toy Story 3 will likely bolster [the second half of fiscal 2010] while the next Pirates and Toy Story 3 should be drivers in 2011.”
The company’s revenue vaulted 6% from 2009 to $8.6 billion to top analyst estimates. Earnings per share came in at 48 cents, above the 46 cents expected by the Street. The company reported a net income of $953 million, up 55% from $613 million last year.
Strong results from the movie studio and the consumer products division, which reported a 37% gain in operating income to $133 million amid a soar in sales of Toy Story and Marvel merchandise, made it easy to overlook the fact that Disney fared poorly in its broadcasting and theme park divisions. ABC’s broadcasting operating income decreased $39 million to $123 million due to falling primetime and news advertising revenues, lower ratings and higher prime-time programming costs, the company reported.
“While we understand that ESPN is in ‘ramp mode’ on U.K. soccer, SEC basketball, FIFA soccer etc., we aren’t sure how long the ramp mode will last, limiting cable earnings growth visibly,” writes RBC analyst David Bank.