Saturday 16 December 2017

Several superheroes and one evil queen help Disney to boost profits

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent
Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

Christopher Palmeri

Disney is becoming as famous for Marvel superheroes as for Mickey Mouse. The company posted third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, fueled by box-office hits.

Net income rose to $2.25bn (€1.7bn), or $1.28 a share, from $1.85bn a year earlier.

Disney, the world's largest entertainment company, had two big films for the quarter that ended June 30, with Marvel's 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 'Maleficent', starring Angelina Jolie.

'Guardians of the Galaxy', also from Marvel, opened last weekend with $94.3m in US and Canadian cinemas, the best ever for an August release.

"People said it came out of nowhere because those characters were not well known," CEO Bob Iger said of the latest film.

"The title was not well known, but the Marvel brand has become something that, at least in the consumer's eyes, really means something and should be trusted."

Revenue increased 7.7pc to €9.4bn, surpassing the €9bn estimate, Disney said.

Operating income at the film studio more than doubled to €308m - the biggest gain among the company's five divisions. 'Frozen', the hit 2013 movie, continued to deliver profit in home video and international theatres.

Disney's consumer products unit, which also benefits from Marvel-themed products, posted a 25pc rise in profit to €204m, while revenue grew 16pc.

The acquisitions of Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012 has brought Disney 
new material to attract teenage boys to its films, as well as characters for its toys, TV networks and theme parks.

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