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Disney Profits Beat Estimates on ‘Black Panther’, Parks

The Walt Disney Company reported its strongest quarterly results in 2 years on Tuesday. It beat Wall Street estimates for profit and revenue growth due to the success of “Black Panther.”

The entertainment conglomerate giant posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.84 from January through March. It was much higher than the $1.70 per share that analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Further, its revenue rose 9% year-over-year to $14.5 billion, while earnings grew 23% to 2.9 billion.

The company also said that the success of Marvel’s “Black Panther” helped boost 21% year-over-year revenue growth for its studio entertainment segment.

Disney’s studios reached $2.45 billion in revenue for the quarter. It topped Wall Street expectations of $2.19 billion in revenue, according to a StreetAccount consensus estimate.

disney store and a black panther poster posted on the window
Marvel’s Black Panther boosted Disney’s profits that beat analysts’ estimates.

The film, which became a cultural phenomenon, produced more than $1.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales for the studio.

The movie was the 1st major superhero film with a majority black cast. It broke industry myths and made a “very loud statement about the importance of risk-taking and the value of inclusion,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on a conference call Tuesday.

For the current quarter, Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” had the biggest opening weekend of all time, domestically and globally. The latest installment of the Avengers franchise crossed $1 billion at the global box office in just 11 days. A pace that is faster than any other movie in history.

Iger said Disney “delivered 9 of the top 10 biggest domestic box office openings of all time – all of them released within the last 6 years.”

Similarly, the theme park unit reported net income of $954 million, up 27% as attendance and guest spending rose. Disney raised some single-day admission prices in February.

Additionally, Iger said the company would consider expanding its park business in China and other markets.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to build something anytime very soon, but we’re going to look,” he said.

However, net income in the media networks unit, the largest division, dropped 6% to $2.1 billion as ESPN continued to lose subscribers.

Investments in streaming technology BAMTech also hurt the results. It moved into the cable unit after Disney acquired a controlling stake to help its digital push.

Despite the upbeat earnings, Disney’s shares fell 0.67% to finish at $101.79.

Disney Attempts to Acquire Fox

Meanwhile, Disney is attempting to close a $52 billion bid for film, TV, and international businesses from Fox.

However, CNBC reported that Comcast plans to make an all-cash bid for Fox if the Justice Department approves AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Comcast’s offer would beat Disney’s and include a full acquisition of Sky, according to sources.

Disney’s move to purchase Fox is to bring in more programming to help attract streaming audiences.

In an interview on CNBC, Iger said he remained confident the Fox deal would go through.

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