LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday reported earnings and revenue for the holiday quarter that beat Wall Street's expectations, helped by the hit movie "Frozen" and sales of its "Disney Infinity" console game.
The huge box office results for "Frozen," surpassing $870 million in ticket sales worldwide since its November release, pushed it past "The Lion King" as the most successful Disney-branded animated film to date, according to CEO Bob Iger.
It also justified Disney's $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar in 2006, which was meant in part to rejuvenate animation at Disney under new leadership, Iger said. "Frozen" not only has the potential to become a franchise, with the possibility of sequels or spin-offs, but it will also be made into a Broadway show, he said.
"Its success speaks volumes about the future of animation at our company," Iger said on a conference call with analysts following the release of the earnings report.
Disney's net income in the fiscal first quarter through Dec. 28 rose to $1.84 billion, or $1.03 per share, from $1.38 billion, or 77 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding restructuring charges and other items, adjusted earnings came to $1.04 per share, beating the 92 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $12.31 billion, beating the $12.25 billion expected by analysts.
Shares rose $2.54, or 3.5 percent, to $74.30 in after-hours trading Wednesday, after already gaining 71 cents to close at $71.76 in the regular session.