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Pixar May Be <I>Finding</I> Answer to Slow First Quarter

8 May, 2003 By: Joan Villa

As Pixar Animation Studios awaits the May 30 release of its fifth film and first summer release. Finding Nemo, the studio reported a 47 percent decline in first-quarter earnings, to $8.2 million, on $18.7 million in revenue, or about half what the studio's sales of the year-ago quarter. Film revenue totaled $16.4 million for the quarter, breaking down to $8.6 million for Monsters, Inc. and $7.8 million for library sales, including worldwide home video revenue.

Pixar EVP and CFO Ann Mather said $114.8 million was added to the company's cash and investments since Dec. 28, mostly from distributor Disney for Pixar's share of Monsters, Inc. and other film revenue, bringing the studio's cash total to $454 million by the end of the quarter. Disney also reported lower home video expenses for past Pixar titles that had already been recorded, boosting Pixar's current diluted earnings per share by 3 cents, Mather said.

Finding Nemo, due on home video this fall, will open on 5,500 screens and have major tie-ins with McDonald's, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Kellogg's, Dreyer's and Orville Redenbacher.

It will also be shown with a trailer for Pixar's next release, The Incredibles, slated for fall, 2004. “This will help establish the concept of a continuous Pixar franchise, with each Pixar film helping to drive audiences to the next Pixar film,” said chairman and CEO Steve Jobs. “It also shows how close we're getting to releasing a film a year.”

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