Disney Earnings Fall Without Star Wars December Release

Disney yesterday announced their first quarter earnings for 2019, for the period October – December 2018 (their financial year starts on October 1st). Unsurprisingly, their earnings fell sharply compared with the same period from 2018 when The Last Jedi was released, with no Star Wars film occupying a December slot.

Disney’s earnings fell sharply compared to its first quarter a year ago, but it still beat Wall Street’s expectations

The company’s theme parks and TV networks led the way with growth in the first quarter while the film unit’s revenue took a 27% hit, falling to $1.8 billion.

Missing from theaters last holiday season was a “Star Wars” movie. Disney has released a film from the franchise every December since 2015.

Instead, the company released “Mary Poppins Returns,” which made more than $325 million globally. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” made $1.3 billion worldwide the year prior.

In all, net income fell by 37% compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Disney’s stock rose 2% initially in after hours trading on Tuesday before coming back down.

The company has a powerhouse lineup of films that includes potential blockbusters such as April’s “Avengers: Endgame” and the next chapter in the “Star Wars” saga, “Star Wars: Episode IX.” “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” the largest expansion ever at its theme parks, will open later this year.

Disney is also expected to complete its purchase of most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, which will bring over a slew of new intellectual property, including X-Men and “Avatar.”
Trip Miller, a Disney shareholder and managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners, told CNN Business that the most important storyline for Disney in 2019 will be in how it rolls out its new streaming service, Disney+.

“That’s where this year starts and ultimately where it ends for Disney,” Miller said.
Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts on Tuesday’s post-earnings call that the company will reveal more about its streaming strategy at its investor day on April 11.

You can listen to the earnings call in full here. I’m sure that this year will provide a surge in earnings with a number of releases including Avengers: Endgame and Episode IX.

James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.