The top-grossing movie in Disney (NYSE: DIS) history propelled the company to its strongest quarterly earnings ever.
“The Avengers” – based on the popular Marvel comic book series and produced by Disney’s film studio – has grossed the third-most box office sales in U.S. history since its May release. The movie’s $1.5 billion global box office take helped increase the studio’s operating income six fold, to $313 million from $49 million a year ago.
“The Avengers” wasn’t alone in pumping up Disney’s film sales. “Brave”, an animated feature produced by Disney’s Pixar studio, has brought in another $342 million in worldwide sales since its late-June release.
The huge quarter for Disney’s film studio was the catalyst behind the company’s 31% earnings growth from a year earlier. For the quarter ended June 30 – Disney’s fiscal third quarter – the company’s earnings rose to $1.01 per share from 77 cents a share during the same three-month period a year ago.
Disney’s media networks – which include ABC, ESPN and ABC Family – also played a major role in the company’s monster quarter. The networks churned out $5.1 billion in revenue, nearly half Disney’s $11.1 billion in total revenue for the quarter.
The record earnings pushed DIS shares to a new 52-week high of $50.65 earlier today.
Here are a few other noteworthy earnings results driving stocks today:
- Macy’s (NYSE: M): The first major department store to report earnings this season posted 67 cents of earnings per share, 3 cents better than consensus expectations. The company also increased its 2012 earnings per share guidance to $3.35 from $3.30. The stronger-than-anticipated quarter has pushed Macy’s shares up 2.8% in mid-day trading.
- Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN): Shares of the discount travel website are now trading at a discount. Priceline stock has fallen a whopping 108 points – 16% – since yesterday evening’s disappointing earnings outlook. The company expects earnings of between $11.10 and $12.10 per share next quarter – well shy of the $12.82 per share analysts were expecting.
- Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH): The second-largest satellite TV provider in America came up small in the second quarter. The company’s net income of 50 cents a share was just two-thirds of the 75 cents a share it earned in the same quarter a year ago. An even worst quarter could be coming – as of July 1, Dish elected to drop AMC Network (NASDAQ: AMCX), which airs some of the most critically acclaimed shows on cable including “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”. Dish shares tumbled 1.2% after the disappointing earnings.