LOS ANGELES (AP) — Animated hit "Frozen" continued to help boost The Walt Disney Co., as the company reported third-quarter net income that rose 22 percent, topping analysts' expectations. The movie sold well at international box offices and in home video and lifted merchandise sales.
With another hit — last weekend's Marvel superhero epic "Guardians of the Galaxy" — set to be made into a series, and the first of its annual "Star Wars" movies to launch next year, the company is on track for a multi-year revival of the studio that is lifting results across its divisions.
And it comes even after Disney delayed what would have been its only Pixar film of 2014, "The Good Dinosaur." The movie, originally slated for a May release, won't come out until November 2015.
"The fact that we're doing as well as we're doing without a Pixar film probably says a lot about what's up in the future," CEO Bob Iger said on a conference call.
Since "Guardians" was released on Friday, it has pulled down more than $106 million in North America, adding to the best domestic August opening weekend ever.
This year's successes, including nearly $1 billion-gross hits "Maleficent" and "Captain America: Winter Soldier," represent a huge turnaround for the studio. Previously, it had been crippled with what seemed like annual spring write-downs on bombs such as "Prince of Persia" (2010), "Mars Needs Moms" (2011), and "John Carter" (2012).
"The studio has continued to be a real game-changer for them," said Robin Diedrich, an analyst with Edward Jones. "As you look forward we're looking to the 'Star Wars' properties and another Pixar film. And so the pipeline is pretty strong."
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