Disney sees box office gains, but earnings fall short

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 07 2019 07:01 AM | Updated as of Aug 07 2019 09:11 AM

A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for the Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, December 14, 2017. Brendan McDermid, Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday second-quarter results were lifted by strong box office gains but failed to meet Wall Street forecasts, sending shares sharply lower.

Disney shares tumbled some 5 percent in after-hours trade after reporting profits fell 51 percent to $1.4 billion while revenues rose 33 percent to $20.2 billion.

The results included the recently acquired film and television assets from 21st Century Fox, which gives Disney a dominant share of the Hollywood box office as it looks to boost its share in on-demand television to compete with Netflix and Amazon.

"Our third-quarter results reflect our efforts to effectively integrate the 21st Century Fox assets to enhance and advance our strategic transformation," said Disney chief executive Bob Iger.

"I'd like to congratulate The Walt Disney Studios for reaching $8 billion at the global box office so far this year -- a new industry record -- thanks to the stellar performance of our Marvel, Pixar and Disney films."

The latest results were highlighted by box-office hits such as "Avengers: Endgame," "Aladdin," "Captain Marvel" and "Toy Story 4."

The latest "Avengers" film smashed records this year to become the all-time top grossing film with more than $2.8 billion by July.

Disney also included results from Hulu, the online streaming service in which it acquired a controlling stake with the Fox deal.

Disney, which also operates theme parks and the ABC and ESPN television networks, is focusing on streaming as it gears up for the launch of its Disney+ service.

Its "direct to consumer" revenues rose in the past quarter from $827 million to $3.8 billion, but its operating loss more than tripled to $553 million due to its investments and consolidation of streaming operations.

© Agence France-Presse