‘Avatar’ Drives Fox Home Entertainment Earnings4 Aug, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel
All-time global box office champ Avatar continued to contribute to Fox’s bottom line, with theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray Disc sales of the James Cameron fantasy film and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs driving a record $1.3 billion in operating income for News Corp.’s filmed-entertainment unit for the 2010 fiscal-year ended June 30.
Filmed entertainment, which includes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, generated operating income of $848 million during the previous-year period.
Fourth-quarter filmed entertainment operating income declined 33% to $137 million (from $203 million) due to lower contributions from global theatrical releases, including Date Night, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, The A-Team and Knight & Day, compared with Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and X-Men Origins: Wolverine last year.
Date Night remains Fox’s highest grossing film to date with $98.5 million in domestic box office.
The quarterly decline was offset by in large part by disc sales of Avatar, which Fox said is the best-selling Blu-ray title of all time.
Filmed entertainment quarterly revenue increased 4% to $1.79 billion from $1.72 billion. Fiscal-year revenue increased 28.5% to $7.6 billion from $5.9 billion the previous fiscal year.
CFO Dave DeVoe cautioned that remaining 2010 calendar year presented difficult year-over-year comps, including overcoming an “extraordinary” year in filmed entertainment.
“While we are excited about our upcoming release slate and the overall strength of our film business overall, we are not, however, forecasting films to perform at the success level that Avatar achieved this past year,” DeVoe said in a call with analysts. “As a result, we expect our film earnings in fiscal year 2011 to be below 2010 in the mid-$300 million range.”