Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Walt Disney Co. - Looking At A Very Bright 2012

What's the line from that old pop song? Oh yeah, "the future's so bright I gotta wear shades". That was Disney CEO Bob Iger's message yesterday when he and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo gave the quarterly report to stockholders via conference call and web cast. Even the dismal performance of the film John Carter couldn't keep the earnings down as Disney once again posted profits and beat market expectations by a little bit. 

But Iger's words weren't so much about Disney's past performance in the quarter but rather what you can look forward beginning this quarter. The Disney earnings reported yesterday didn't take into account the massive success of the new Avengers movie had over the weekend smashing box office records like a blow from the Incredible Hulk. The movie could conceivably hit 2 billion dollars at the box office. Nor did yesterdays news reflect what is expected with the opening of Cars Land this summer in Disney California Adventure. Yesterdays news did show that theme park attendence was solidly up and that is only going to go higher with the DCA reboot. So much is expected of DCA that Iger said that the company was keeping its eye and options open with additional hotel operations in the Disneyland Resort.

The other thing of prominence is that Iger admitted that Disney was looking for opportunities to "ramp up" the presence of Marvel in its theme parks including the building an Avengers based attraction in the parks where it could do so. (Disney would not be able to build an Avenger's attraction in Walt Disney World because of licensing agreements Marvel had with Universal east of the Mississippi prior to Disney's purchase of Marvel).

But this isn't all about theme parks and Marvel as once again the most profitable part of the Disney media empire is advertising revenue sold on its sports giant ESPN. In fact, almost all of the enterprises Disney is involved with showed a profit in yesterday's report except Disney Studios which took a big hit with the underperforming John Carter. But with The Avengers taking in boat loads of box office receipts ahead of next month's release of Pixar's latest effort 'Brave' which is also expected to do quite well, things just may be turning around at the Disney Studios as well. They only need to find a new leader for the recently fired Rich Ross (the main fall guy for John Carter).  

Yep, if you don't own Disney stock, you might consider buying some now. If you own Disney stock, well just continue to smile.

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