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Monday, Oct 3, 2022

Disney Shares Fall After Quake, Lackluster Box Office Hurt Earnings

Walt Disney Co.’s fiscal second-quarter earnings dipped 1 percent based due to lower amusement park revenue in Japan after the quake and tsunami. Another factor was disappointing box office for its animated film, “Mars Needs Moms.”

After the markets closed Tuesday, the Burbank entertainment giant reported net income of $942 million (49 cents per share), compared with $953 million (48 cents) a year earlier. Revenue rose 6 percent to $9.08 billion.

Another factor in the decline was the timing of the Easter holiday, which came in the third quarter and lowered studio and theme park receipts for the second quarter as a result.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to report profit of 56 cents per share on revenue of $9.13 billion.

Studio revenue fell 13 percent to $1.3 billion, due to slower home entertainment revenue and the weak showing for “Mars.” The 3D computer-animated sci-fi adventure comedy cost $150 million to produce but only generated $20.9 million in U.S. ticket revenue and $15.8 million overseas. That contributed to a 65 percent decline in operating income, to $77 million.

Theme park revenue rose 7 percent to $2.6 billion, but operating revenue fell 3 percent to $145 million. The unit had higher costs related to the launch of a new Disney Cruise Line ship called “Disney Dream,” plus lost revenue related to the closure of its Tokyo resort following the Japanese disasters in early March.

A bright spot in the quarter was the television unit, where operating income jumped 17 percent to $1.5 billion on higher ad sales and affiliate payments at cable channels such as ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC Family. The company’s interactive unit saw a 3 percent gain in revenue to $158 million, but showed an operating loss of $115 million from higher costs related to the acquisition of a video game developer last year.

Executives noted that the company has summer films that are expected to generate branded merchandise sales, including “Cars 2,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

“There is great creative momentum throughout the company which gives us continued confidence in our ability to grow our businesses,” Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement.

Shares on Wednesday closed down $2.39, or 5.4 percent, to $41.52 on the New York Stock Exchange.


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