Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) reports second-quarter earnings after the closing bell this afternoon. The report may move the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) at a rate of one Dow point for every 1.9% price change in Disney shares.
Analysts are looking for adjusted earnings of $0.95 per share on about $11.2 billion in total revenue. That would be a 20% year-over-year earnings boost on 6% higher sales. But that's just the numbers on the surface. Here are three details in Disney's report that deserve a deeper look tonight.
How did Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier change the game in Q2?
Frozen is a massive hit, with both Oscar and Golden Globe statuettes to its name. In the first quarter, the Thanksgiving opener pulled in $870 million in box office sales. The film helped Disney's studio entertainment division to a 23% year-over-year revenue boost, alongside 75% higher operating profit.
But the story didn't end there. In a tour de force of lasting impact, the Snow Queen reworking collected another $299 million in the second quarter, including debuts in the important Chinese and Japanese markets. It was still in theaters when DVD and Blu-ray releases hit store shelves. Expect Disney to celebrate this unique success in today's earnings release, and maybe shed some light on plans to turn Elsa and Anna into a multidecade franchise tentpole.
As for this quarter's theatrical fare, the Captain America sequel put up a valiant fight but was no match for 2013's Iron Man 3. Steve Rogers and his star-spangled shield have collected $680 million in global ticket sales so far, but Tony Stark's third Iron Man outing passed $1.2 billion. Company-wide year-over-year comparisons will be tough here, despite Frozen 's legendary outperformance.
Did the theme parks pull their weight?
Speaking of frost: cold weather was a big story this winter. Plenty of big businesses missed Wall Street's targets in this earnings season, only to blame unseasonably cold weather in North America. Disney's U.S. theme parks and resorts, though, are in the warmer regions of central Florida and Southern California, which weren't hit by the polar vortex.
This report will show how Disney's park visitors react to strange weather turns. They may have escaped to warmer climates in large numbers, which would show up as strong attendance and high revenue in the theme park division. Or they may have stayed home after all, unwilling to fight icy roads to the airport.
Chances are the cold winter helped Disney. Whatever the outcome, this is a lesson to stick in your back pocket for the next extreme weather situation, where the same patterns should emerge again.
Are video games on track to turn a profit anytime soon?
In fiscal 2013, the company's interactive segment turned a modest $87 million operating loss on $1.1 billion in annual sales. That was a dramatic year-over-year improvement from a $216 million operating loss on $845 million in game sales and advertising.
That trend continued into the holiday quarter, and Disney executives are feeling good about the rest of 2014.
The second quarter should land close to the year-ago period's $54 million loss, but keep an eye out for fresh guidance. Disney is moving deeper into the mobile gaming space and hopes to ride that wave toward reliable profits. Paired with the Disney Infinity console title, the interactive segment packs a promising one-two punch right now.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has no doubts about the profitable future for his interactive division, but he has offered no guidance yet on the size of this growing opportunity. See if he'll spill the beans this week.
The big 3 takeaways
So those are the three big takeaways from this afternoon's second-quarter release, beyond the basic numbers: the caliber of the Frozen and Captain America franchises, the fight-or-flight response to bitterly cold winter months, and the prospects for Disney's video gaming operations. Keep a close eye on those details tonight.