Movies are a bright spot at Disney

Movies and movie-themed products were bright spots for Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. in a quarter that saw an overall decline in profits, according to figures released Friday.

The diverse company — which owns theme parks, television networks and newly acquired assets, including Marvel Comics and video game developers — reported a profit of $835 million in the quarter ending Oct. 2. That figure was down 6.7% from $895 million for the same period last year. Revenues were down 1%, from $9.9 billion to $9.7 billion, the company reported.

The company's film and TV production studio earned a profit based partly on the performance of "Toy Story 3," which overall has earned more than $1 billion in worldwide release.

Disney studio entertainment revenues grew to $1.6 billion, a 6% increase over the same period in 2009. Sales of consumer products jumped 13% to $730 million.

But revenue in the two largest parts of the company, television networks and theme parks, were down. Network revenue fell 7%, and theme parks ebbed 1% compared with a year earlier.

In a conference call with investors Friday, Chief Executive Robert Iger and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo attributed the dip in revenues to various television production write-offs and a financial accounting period one week shorter than the same one in 2009.

Iger said that in the firm's fiscal year, which ended Oct. 2, the company saw a 5% increase in revenues and a 20% increase in net profits compared to 2009.

"2010 was a good one financially and strategically for our company," Iger said.

He also pointed to a strong forecast for the movie studio.

"Our creative pipeline is strong at our movie studios," Iger said, citing the planned release of the animated film "Tangled" this month, as well as "Cars 2" and the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie in 2011.

In July, Disney bought Playdom, a Northern California developer of games, for more than $500 million. While interactive media revenues are improving for Disney, games have yet to earn a profit for the company. Still, Iger said he remains committed to the field.

"We're quite mindful of the losses we delivered in that business," Iger said. But, he added, "Consumers are obviously spending time playing games online … and we've felt all along we need to be where the consumers are."

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World