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Walt Disney earnings surge 22% on strength of studio, theme parks

Walt Disney Co. reported a 22% increase in net income in its fiscal third quarter

Walt Disney Co. reported a 22% increase in net income for its fiscal third quarter, buoyed by the strong performance of its film studio and theme parks division.

The Burbank company posted net income of $2.25 billion, or $1.28 a share, for the quarter that ended June 28, up from $1.85 billion, or $1.01, a year earlier. Revenue rose 8% to $12.47 billion.

Disney, the world's largest entertainment and media company, beat the expectations of analysts, who had predicted earnings of $1.17 a share, according to investment research firm Zacks. 

“Our strategy of building strong brands and franchises continues to create great value across our company,” Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We’re extremely pleased with these results.”

Disney's parks and resorts, studio, consumer products and interactive divisions each experienced double-digit operating income growth on a year-over-year basis.

The company's media networks division, which includes ESPN and ABC, posted operating income of $2.3 billion, flat from a year earlier.

Disney shares, which fell 49 cents to $86.75 in regular trading Tuesday, were up slightly in after-hours trading.

Disney's movie studio posted operating income of $411 million in its third quarter, up from $201 million a year earlier. Revenue was up 14% to $1.807 billion. Disney attributed the improvement in part to the worldwide home entertainment performance of the hit animated film "Frozen," and the international theatrical performance of movies "Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier" and "Maleficent."

Although the media networks division saw its operating income dip slightly, its revenue rose 3% to $5.51 billion. Within the division, the cable group's operating income was down 7% in part because of higher programming and production costs at ESPN. The broadcasting group's operating income was up 66% -- partly due to an increase in affiliate fees. 

Disney's interactive division reported operating income of $29 million, compared with a loss of $58 million a year earlier. Revenue was up 45% to $266 million. Disney attributed the division's success to higher video game sales, which were partly driven by "Disney Infinity," an action-adventure game released last year. 

Disney's parks and resorts unit posted operating income of $848 million, a gain of 23% from a year earlier. Disney said the strong performance was partly because of growth at its domestic properties. That offset a decrease in operating income at Disneyland Paris, which experienced decreased attendance and higher operating costs. 

The company's consumer products division posted operating income of $273 million, compared with $219 million a year earlier. Revenue was up 16% to $902 million.

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