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Disney earnings: The movie business suffers, but interactive turns around

Mickey at Disneyland

Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Disney made less money in its first fiscal 2013 quarter but still beat Wall Street expectations. And its online and social gaming segment swung to a profit.

The Walt Disney Co. just announced fiscal 2013 first quarter earnings. They slightly beat Wall Street expectations, at 79 cents per share on $11.34 billion in revenue; analysts who follow the company expected 76 cents per share on $11.21 billion in revenue.

Profits for the quarter were 3 percent lower than a year ago. In after hours trading, the stock was up almost 4 percent.

As with all Disney quarterly earnings announcement, you have to drill into how the company's operating segments performed to get the full picture.

The most interesting wrinkle for the first fiscal quarter was that Disney's movie business lagged all the other operating segments while the previously troubled Interactive segment began to show signs of life.

But before we get to that, let's put the overall business into perspective. Of that $11.34 billion in gross revenue, $5.1 billion — 45 percent — came from Media Networks, which includes ESPN, and believe it not, ESPN actually contributed to a loss in income for Disney in the quarter.

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Disney-Lucasfilm: Now it's a $4 billion done deal

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

George Lucas meets a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters. Federal regulators just approved the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm.

The U.S.  government has given its OK to the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm for just over $4 billion.

Disney can now move forward with its plan to release "Episode VII" of the "Star Wars" saga, bring Star Wars characters into theme parks in a bigger way, and merchandise the heck out of Luke, Darth, Yoda, Boba, Chewie, Han, and the rest of the spacefaring gang.

Disney announced the acquisition in late October. For CEO Bob Iger, it completes a suite of deals, beginning with the $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar in 2006 and the $4 billion price for Marvel in 2009. 

Evidently, federal regulators don't believe, as many "Star Wars" fans seem to, that Disney will screw up one of the most lucrative and iconic franchises in all of entertainment.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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Disney earnings: A good fourth quarter, but old problems remain

disney disneyland

Photo by KeithJ via Flickr Creative Commons

The Happiest Place on Earth continues to bring in profits for Disney, which is making money on theme parks but losing money on movies.

Disney just reported earnings for its fourth quarter and financials for its fiscal year. Fourth-quarter earnings were basically in line with expectations, even though the entertainment giant — which just spent $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm and the "Star Wars" franchise — didn't quite bring in as much revenue as analysts wanted, for the second consecutive quarter. Still, profits were up and a $10-billion-plus quarter isn't too shabby.

Overall, the company reported a three percent increase in revenue year-over-year. 

However — and it's a big howeverDisney continues to struggle with both its movie and interactive businesses. Year-over-year, broadcast, theme parks, and consumer products revenues were all up — with parks up by 10 percent. Studio entertainment and interactive revenues were both down year-over year — with interactive posting a 14 percent loss for both the quarter and the fiscal year.

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Video: Darth Vader celebrates being bought by Disney by going to Disneyland

Just watch. It's a pretty hilarious riff on the recently announced $4.05-billion deal for Disney to buy Lucasfilm, and with it "Star Wars" and its 17,000 characters, of which Darth Vader is perhaps the most iconic.

He even seems to have developed a newfound patience for princesses. Wonder if Leia will be Disney's newest intergalatic princess, by the way?

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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Did Disney overpay for Lucasfilm — or get a great deal?

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

George Lucas poses with a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters. Disney is buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion and with it, the "Star Wars" franchise.

Did you hear? Disney just announced that it's buying "Star Wars" — I mean Lucasfilm — for $4.05 billion. That sounds like a lot, but people are already raising questions about whether the financial upside to owning one of the most famous entertainment franchises of all time is really there for the Mighty Mouse and Disney CEO Bob Iger. 

We have two main lines of thinking. One is that, in the context of Disney and Iger's previous blockbuster acquisitions — Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel for $4 billion in 2009 — Lucasfilm, even if it comes with an influential special effects operation, looks curiously undervalued. I noted this in my post yesterday when I observed that Disney, in announcing the deal, tallied the all-time film grosses for "Star Wars" at $4.4 billion. That's just movies. Wouldn't that mean - when you take into account all the toys and games and just endless amounts of Star-Wars-y stuff - that the property is worth billions more? 

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