Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) were stuck in a nightmare today, falling as much as 14% after a disappointing first-quarter earnings report.
So what: The animation studio said results were hurt by the weak box-office performance of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, as the company took a $57 million charge on its poor showing. As a result, Dreamworks posted a loss for the quarter of $0.51 per share, far worse than the $0.14 loss that was expected. Revenue increased 9%, to $147.2 million, beating estimates of $137.2 million, but investors were clearly focused on the bottom line. CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg expressed optimism that Dreamworks' next movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, would deliver a box-office victory for the company.
Now what: The movie business is notoriously risky, as there's no way to guarantee a big-budget movie won't turn into a flop at the box office, so Dreamworks' big miss is, perhaps, not as bad as it seems. Still, the disappointing release of Mr. Peabody & Sherman casts doubt on Dreamworks' $155 million acquisition of Classic Media in 2012, though content from other Classic Media characters contributed $5.3 million in gross profit during the quarter. To combat the risk in film releases, the company is working on an initiative to expand short-form content, including putting some on YouTube, a move that underscores the hidden value in the company's character base. Keep an eye on non-box-office revenue growing forward, as that could insulate the company from future quarters like this, and drive the stock higher.