Saturday, August 11, 2012

Disney Profits - Just Whistling A Happy Tune

To no ones surprise, when Bob Iger announced Disney's 3rd quarter profits last week he was forced to deliver the typically boring numbers data with a smile that would rival the best day of any of his cast of Disney characters. Yes, Bob is a happy man these days as Disney profits set records and looks off into a very bright future.

Of course Bob, in the last quarter had The Avengers, a Disney released movie that pulled in somewhere around 1.4 billion dollars in box office receipts at last look. He also had a moderate success with Pixar's Brave - not the usual Pixar box office powerhouse but still a film that will turn over a profit. And both of these movies shape up well for their second lives when home video versions are released in various packages over the next few months. Home video sales is sagging badly as a national trend. Not when it comes these two movies. 

And all the investment into Disney Parks and Resorts is paying off. Attendance at the Disneyland Resort has been record setting this summer with the opening of Cars Land. A new cruise ship recently launched increasing Disney's fleet to four and the ships are booked to 94% capacity through the rest of this year. And with an improving economy, people are flocking to Disney parks and hotels without having to go the route of discounting which has been prevalent the last few years as Disney tried to keep the parks and hotels buzzing in a floundering economy.

For Disney fans there was a note of fear delivered by Iger as he made his rounds in the financial news media circles. Things are going so good that he made the remark (paraphrasing) "we believe there is room for some additional price elasticity". Basically, Disney believes there is room to implement additional price increases across the board without affecting the demand for the Disney products he delivers. He's probably right.

Bob can point to a bright future. Now that DCA is pulling in people, you can expect Disney to turn its attention to Disneyland itself with new attractions and minor improvements. Walt Disney World is finally starting to get some much needed buzz and attention as it prepares to open its new and improved Fantasyland with Animal Kingdom's Pandora (Avatarland) standing next in line. Iger's decision to purchase Marvel has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving with a full slate of powerhouse movies in production scheduled to be released ahead of the return of Joss Whedon and his direction of Avengers 2 in 2015. Whedon will also develop a Marvel TV series for ABC in his spare time.

So its a great time to be Bob Iger as he closes out his tenure as Chairman and CEO at The Walt Disney Company. One can only hope that the next guy is taking good notes. 

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