Walt Disney Co. significantly beat Wall Street expectations for the fiscal first quarter primarily on the back of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The Burbank entertainment and media giant reported net income of $2.9 billion ($1.73 a share) in the quarter ended Jan. 2, compared with $2.2 billion ($1.27) in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted to exclude items related to an acquisition, investment impairment and contract termination, earnings were $1.63. Revenue increased 14 percent to $15.2 billion.
Analysts on average expected net income of $1.45 a share on revenue of $14.8 billion, according to Thomson Financial Network.
Out of the company’s four divisions, studio entertainment led the way as its $2.7 billion in revenue amounted to a 46 percent increase compared to the prior year. The division was boosted by a higher revenue sharing with Disney’s consumer products and interactive media segment due to the high sales of “Star Wars” merchandise. That division increased revenue by 8 percent to $1.9 billion when compared with the previous year. Revenue from parks and resorts jumped by 9 percent since last year.
“The Force Awakens,” the seventh movie in the popular film franchise, is the third-highest grossing film of all time with a global box office of just more than $2 billion.
“Driven by the phenomenal success of Star Wars, we delivered the highest quarterly earnings in the history of our company, marking our 10th-consecutive quarter of double-digit (earnings) growth,” Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement. “We’re very pleased with our results, which continue to validate our strategic focus and investments in brands and franchises to drive long-term growth across the entire company.”
Disney’s media networks revenue went up by 8 percent to $6.3 billion when compared to a year ago. Operating income, however, was down 6 percent as ESPN was hurt by a loss of subscribers.
Shares closed up 20 cents, or a fraction of one percent, to $92.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.