DreamWorks Animation posts improved earnings in third quarter

'How to Train Your Dragon 2' fuels strong third quarter for DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. reported stronger-than-expected profits in the third quarter, fueled by the box-office success of "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

The Glendale-based animation studio earned a profit $11.9 million, or 14 cents a share, on revenue of $180.9 million in the third quarter.

That was an improvement over the same quarter a year ago, when the company posted a net income of $10.1 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $154.5 million.

The results easily exceeded what analysts were expecting for DreamWorks Animation. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had a consensus estimate of 5 cents a share in the third quarter.

"The third quarter of 2014 was strong for DreamWorks Animation, with both quarterly revenue and earnings per share up 17% in a year-over-year comparison," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, in a statement.

Katzenberg attributed the improved results to the box office success of "How to Train Your Dragon 2," which did especially strong business in China and other international markets.

"Driving the company's third quarter results is the blockbuster performance of How to Train Your Dragon 2, which has reached over $615 million at the worldwide box office to become the highest-grossing animated film of the year," Katzenberg said.

During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Katzenberg is expected to field questions from analysts about the future of the studio.

Katzenberg has been actively shopping the studio and was in talks last month to sell the company for $3.4 billion to Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp. But people close to the discussions say those talks have quieted.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" contributed feature film revenue of $74.2 million to the third quarter. "Turbo,"  "The Croods" and "Rise of the Guardians" added feature film revenue of $12.7 million, $1.8 million and $3.5 million, respectively, to the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the company's television division generated revenue of $14.3 million and segment gross profit of $2.3 million to the third quarter, primarily from Classic Media content, the "Turbo F.A.S.T." series and DreamWorks "Dragons: Riders of Berk" on Cartoon Network.

The consumer products sales contributed revenue of $12.1 million and segment gross profit of $4.2 million in the quarter.

DreamWorks' next movie, "Penguins of Madagascar," the latest in the successful "Madagascar" franchise, will be release in November.

Twitter: @rverrier

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