Most execs like to raise expectations when they address investors. But Disney CFO Jay Rasulo did just the opposite when he opened his appearance today at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. After seeing some analysts’ rosy forecasts for the current quarter, he says that “maybe I wasn’t clear” in earlier presentations about the challenges the entertainment giant faces in the quarter that ends in June. Although the company is “thrilled with the outcome” of Iron Man 3, which could end up with $1.3B in worldwide box office sales, last year it had The Avengers, which generated $1.5B. In addition it will have a lot of marketing expenses for The Lone Ranger, “a film we’re very excited about.” But since the film will be released July 3, the revenues won’t be booked until the fiscal Q4. All told, the studio’s operating income could be down $150M vs last year. In addition, ESPN will defer some revenues. And Disney’s theme parks could be down $65M with one fewer Easter holiday week falling in fiscal Q3. Disney shares, which had been up in early trading today, are now down about 1%.
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