This morning, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) reported results for the second quarter of its fiscal 2015. The media powerhouse beat analyst expectations, and Disney shares opened Tuesday's trading more than 1% higher.
Wall Street analysts were looking for adjusted earnings of $1.11 per share on roughly $12.3 billion in total sales. Instead, Disney's earnings jumped 11% higher year over year to land at $1.23 per share while revenue increased 7% to $12.5 billion.
Facing tough comparisons against the Frozen phenomenon of last year, Disney's studio entertainment division reported 6% lower sales and 10% lower operating profit. On the other hand, Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna (with an assist from The Avengers) helped lift operating profit by 32% in Disney's consumer products segment.
Parks and resorts sales rose by 6%, and profits were up by 24%, led by strong traffic and even stronger spending per guest at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Looks like those newfangled MagicBands are loosening the purse strings of happy customers.
The media networks segment, which accounts for 47% of Disney's total revenue and 60% of operating profits, reported 13% higher sales but a 2% decline on the bottom line. The lower profit level sprung from higher programming and production costs for the ESPN network, which were due to renegotiated deals for college and professional football coverage.
Disney CEO Robert Iger chalked the strong quarter up to the power of brand strength and quality content production. "The power of this winning combination is once again reflected in the phenomenal worldwide success of Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has opened at number one in every market so far," Iger said in the earnings press release.
Ultron is indeed shaping up as another billion-dollar win for Disney's Marvel brand. That action-packed superhero yarn will provide a fresh boost for Disney's third-quarter results -- and set the company up for one more of those tough-to-beat comparisons next year.