Quick, what's the #3 top worldwide grossing movie at the box office of all time? Avatar is #1. Titanic is #2. What, you didn't guess Marvel's the Avengers? Well, perhaps you are not alone, but Disney's (NYSE:DIS) hit last year did just that.
A few weeks ago I wrote about why I love Disney as a company, and one of the reasons is that they have a well-diversified portfolio of different revenue streams. Their Studio Entertainment is their third largest stream, but it generates so much more than just income and allows the Disney brand to grow, even if it's got a different name: This weekend that name is Buena Vista, more precisely Iron Man 3.
Last weekend Disney's Buena Vista studio released Iron Man 3 to a top 10 overseas audience, with box office sales at $195.3M. Oh, but it wasn't all of overseas. There's a tiny country called China where it is yet to open, and there is a special Chinese release to the movie. In fact already the Iron Man 3's overseas weekend is #9 all time, and it's 2/3rd of what Iron Man 2 grossed overseas while it was with Paramount.
Because of its diverse product line, Disney has numerous competitors. Another company that I like a lot is Time Warner (TWC). For 2013 releases, WB has three top 20 grossing films: 42, Jack the Giant Slayer and Gangster Squad. However, those three put together have grossed 77% of what Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful has.
Numbers and rankings courtesy of Box Office Mojo.
From 2010 to 2012, Disney's revenues for the Studio Entertainment segment decreased by 13% from $6.7B to $5.8B. 2012 saw fewer releases, but they were rescued by The Avengers (that is after all, what they do!). This segment will be stronger in both revenues and net income in 2013 for the following reasons:
· Even without opening domestically, Iron Man 3 has already recouped its production costs.
· A strong stable of projected blockbusters throughout the year to include summer releases of Monster's University and The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. This ensures that Disney will have at least one strong movie on display almost all year.
· There's no John Carter to deal with, and all the bad PR that went with that from an "artistic" nature, but more importantly from a financial nature.
Thus far the publicity and overseas opening for Iron Man 3 is comparable to Marvel's The Avengers. Who knows, when it's all said and done this may very well end up being the top grossing film ever that James Cameron did not direct!
Disclosure: I am long DIS. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.