Walt Disney Co.'s earnings surged in its third fiscal quarter, thanks to blockbuster sequels such as "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Incredibles 2" and growth at its theme parks in Asia, the company said Tuesday.
Burbank-based Disney reported earnings of $2.9 billion, or $1.87 a share, in the quarter that ended June 30, an increase of 23 percent from the same period in 2017. Total revenue for the entertainment giant was $15.2 billion in the quarter, up 7 percent from a year ago.
The results fell short of the $1.95 a share in profit that analysts had predicted, according to data compiled by FactSet. The company also missed analysts' revenue estimate of $15.3 billion in the quarter.
Disney's stock closed at $116.56 a share on Wall Street, before the earnings announcement. Shares fell 2 percent in after-hours trading on the revenue miss.
The company's studio entertainment revenues grew 20 percent to $2.9 billion, while operating income jumped 11 percent to $708 million.
Disney released several major films during the third quarter. Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" grossed $2 billion in worldwide box office, and "Incredibles 2" collected more than $1 billion in receipts. The May release of "Solo: A Star Wars Story," however, was a rare disappointment for the studio, grossing $391 million.
The results come after Disney won a tense showdown with Philadelphia-based cable giant Comcast Corp. over its planned purchase of much of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. Disney in July emerged victorious with its $71-billion deal to buy Fox, after Comcast bowed out. Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox shareholders on July 28 overwhelmingly approved the takeover.
The deal, which includes the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios and television networks such as FX, is a major component of Iger's plan to make Disney a more powerful competitor in the face of growing competition from tech giants that include Netflix, Amazon and Apple.
Disney and Fox remain entangled in a battle with Comcast for control of European pay-TV giant Sky. Comcast has the highest bid, at $34 billion, although many analysts expect Disney and Fox to drive up the price of Sky with another offer.
The Fox acquisition is partly driven by Disney's desire to have more film and TV content for two streaming services - a Disney-branded offering set to launch next year, and an ESPN streaming service that launched in April.
Disney has not said what its entertainment service, run by marketing veteran Ricky Strauss, will cost. But it will certainly feature original content based on franchises such as "Star Wars" and the Pixar and Marvel properties.
The company's parks business grew profits by 15 percent to $1.3 billion in the quarter, due to growth at Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
Operating income for Disney's cable networks business declined 5 percent in the quarter to $1.4 billion. The slide reflected a loss at digital platform BAMTech and a decrease in revenue at Freeform, offset by an increase at ESPN, Disney said.
Overall media networks revenue, which includes ABC and cable channels, grew 5 percent to $6.1 billion. The segment's profit declined 1 percent to $1.8 billion.
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com