Surging profit at theme parks helped Disney offset the slowdown in movie sales. Fred Katayama reports.
Disney riding on the success of its theme parks. The Mouse House's quarterly profit and sales rose and cruised past analysts estimates, as earnings surged at its amusement parks. Disney charged higher prices at its parks and cruise lines, and visitors spent more on food and drinks. Revenue growth surged at Disney's TV and cable networks unit as well, but higher programming costs for rights to college football games at ESPN bit into the bottom line, causing profit to fall. The networks make up roughly three-fifths of Disney's operating profit. Revenue from its parks and networks helped offset the weakness fromits movie studios, where Disney couldn't help but let some of its revenue go. The films, "Cinderella," which came out near the end of the quarter, and "Big Hero 6," just couldn't compare with last year's blockbuster hit, "Frozen." But "Frozen" merchandise helped contribute to product sales. And the new blockbuster sequel to the "Avengers" looks set to spruce up revenue in the current quarter. Disney shares rising at the open. They've gained 18 percent this year, far outperforming the S&P 500 index.