Disney is continuing to deliver the goods, reporting second-quarter financials substantially better than Wall Street analysts’ forecasts.
Earnings per share came in at $1.61, four cents better than the consensus, while total revenue of $14.92 billion was nearly $400 million ahead of the Street’s outlook.
CEO Bob Iger also announced December 11 as the date when the mega-grossing Avengers: Endgame will start streaming exclusively on Disney+.
“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying,” Iger said in a press release, “and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers.”
Theme Parks and Direct-to-Consumer and International proved the star units. Revenue at the studio declined 15% to $2.134 billion, and Media Networks was essentially flat at $5.5 billion.
Box office suffered from tough comparisons, with Captain Marvel and Dumbo comparing with Black Panther and carryover from Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the same period of 2018.
The $71.3 billion Disney-Fox deal closed in March, so the results of the quarter, which ended March 31, do not fully reflect the integrated company.
The massive revenue event of The Avengers: Endgame also occurred outside of the quarter, which ended March 31.
Captain Marvel ushers in a new era for Disney of holding back its first-window theatrical releases from Netflix as it stocks Disney+ with original titles. (Having Endgame, soon to be the top-grossing film in history, on Disney+ just weeks after it launches, certainly won’t hurt the customer acquisition prospects on the streaming front.)
Ditto recent moves like the purchase of WarnerMedia’s nearly 10% stake in Hulu or the unveiling of the company’s streaming plans at an April investor day.
Shares in Disney closed up 1% at $135.05 on Wednesday. They have pulled back a bit since investors gave them a major boost in the wake of the streaming reveal last month but remain near the top of their 52-week range.
Streaming is apt to dominate the conference call with analysts later this afternoon. Stay with Deadline for complete coverage of the call.