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Walt Disney Studios Ups Q2 Profit 27%

10 May, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CEO Bob Iger says he has no plans to continue as chief executive beyond the end of his contract in 2018.

Fiscal largess from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and animated comedy Zootopia helped Walt Disney Studios increase second-quarter (ended April 2) operating income 27% to $542 million, from operating income of $427 million during the previous-year period.

Studio revenue, which includes Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, increased 22% to $2 billion, from $1.68 billion a year earlier. Principal drivers included Stars Wars: The Force Awakens and Zootopia (Disney’s top-grossing animated title since Frozen) compared with Big Hero 6 and Into the Woods during the previous-year period.

The studio passed the $1 billion box office through May 8, including $3 billion globally — the fastest ever for any studio. CEO Bob Iger said 13 Marvel-branded movies have generated almost $10 billion at the global box office.

Indeed, animated fantasy drama The Jungle Book has generated $783 million at the global box office, including about $150 million in China, and in India where it is the highest-grossing Hollywood movie ever, according to Iger. He added that global box office for Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War has topped $705 million.

“We’re obviously very thrilled with our studio’s performance and it’s position going forward,” Iger said on the fiscal call.

Separately, Iger said he has no plans to continue as CEO of Disney beyond the end of his contract in 2018. He said the board has been engaged for some time in a succession plan and has "ample time" to find a replacement. 

Meanwhile, higher TV and subscription streaming distribution results were driven by international growth. The decrease in home entertainment results was primarily due to lower unit sales reflecting the performance of Big Hero 6, Frozen and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in the prior-year quarter compared with The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out and Marvel’s Ant-Man in the current quarter.

While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the top-selling disc in 2016 with more than 2.9 million units sold for $73.5 million, unit sales of The Good Dinosaur (2.46 million, $48.2 million), Ant-Man (433,495 discs, $10.1 million), and Inside Out (425,801 units, $8.7 million), compared to Big Hero 6, Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy in the prior-year period, according to The-Numbers.com.

Indeed, Big Hero 6 generated $94.1 million on 5.2 million units, Frozen had $29.6 million on 1.4 million units, and Guardians of the Galaxy had $25 million from 1.3 million units.

The decrease in lower packaged-media unit sales was partially offset by the benefit of "Star Wars" catalog titles distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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