Maybe it won't be so bad if Pixar (NASDAQ:PIXR) has to split profits with Disney (NYSE:DIS) over the next two years. After all, there's a lot to go around. The master of computer animation blasted past its own bottom-line guidance for a fourth-quarter fueled by record-breaking DVD sales of Finding Nemo.

Following the "just keep swimming" advice of the film's absent-minded fish Dory, Pixar earned a record $1.44 a share on $164.8 million in revenues. Wall Street, which has typically underestimated the company's earnings power, aimed too low again.

This time, a dozen analysts perched on estimates ranging from $1.26 to $1.40 a share. Silly Wall Street. Pixar lowballs guidance and the analysts buy in like Wile E. Coyote at an Acme gift exchange. The four previous quarters, the company topped the analyst consensus by an average of 50%.

Beep, beep.

On the strength of $850 million in global box office receipts plus DVD sales, the company earned $2.17 a share for the year on $262.5 million in revenues. That translates into an amazing net profit margin of 47.5%.

Yes, the year ahead will create some difficult comps. The company's next release -- The Incredibles -- isn't slated to open until the holidays, pushing its DVD release into 2005. While a lot of media attention has been generated by the company's decision not to extend its partnership with Disney after next year, long-term investors should be drooling over a Disneyless future in which Pixar can potentially double its earnings power.

With rival studios like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Fox (NYSE:FOX), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and MGM (NYSE:MGM) already making overtures to let Pixar keep its profits while providing distribution come 2006, the studio's dance card is in demand.

This one is a winner. David Gardner was wise to recommend the stock in our Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter. Pixar's got skills -- and gills.

Rick is a fan of both Disney and Pixar -- and owns shares of both companies. Why won't analysts wake up and refuse to accept Pixar's lowball guidance? What would you do if you were Disney? Who would you turn to if you were Pixar? All this and more -- in the Pixar discussion board. Only on