Disney results jump on strong movie slate

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, the Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The Walt Disney Co. reports earnings Thursday, Nov. 8. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — Walt Disney Co.'s earnings for the latest quarter sailed passed expectations, boosted by a strong slate of movies such as "Incredibles 2" as the company moves toward closing its $71.3 billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets.

Disney and other media companies are facing a shifting landscape as more TV watchers switch to streaming rather than traditional cable bundles.

But Disney's diversified entertainment portfolio, which runs from films and cable channels to theme parks, helped buoy its results. Studio entertainment revenue, which includes theater box office and streaming, jumped 50 percent to $2.15 billion on the strength of films such as "Avengers: Infinity War" and the latest "Ant-Man" movie.

Net income for the quarter ended Sept. 29 rose 33 percent to $2.32 billion, or $1.55 per share, from $1.75 billion, or $1.14 per share last year. Excluding one-time items, net income totaled $1.48 per share. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.31 per share.

The Burbank, California-based company's revenue rose 12 percent to $14.31 billion from $12.78 billion last year. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $13.81 billion.

A reduced tax rate also boosted results by $1.2 billion.

Disney is building its streaming service offerings. It launched $5-a-month ESPN Plus streaming service with sports in April. And a Disney-branded streaming service is expected to launch later next year. Disney properties include Disney cartoons, "Star Wars," Pixar, the Muppets and many of the Marvel superhero characters.

With the pending Fox deal, Disney now also takes a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu, which is jointly owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and AT&T.

The Fox acquisition is expected to close at the beginning of next year. With it, Disney gets Fox TV and film studios, Marvel's X-Men and Deadpool, along with programs shown on such Fox channels as FX Networks and National Geographic. Fox's productions also include "The Americans," ''This Is Us" and "Modern Family."

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DIS at https://www.zacks.com/ap/DIS

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