Rob Black's Media Stock Report

Includes: DIS, MVL, SNE, VIA
by: Rob Black

Yesterday, Marvel Studios (MVL) offered analysts an in-depth look at its inhouse film development efforts. The debut release, "Iron Man", is planned for May 2, 2008.

Management expects to release 2 self-financed films per year beginning in 2008. Currently, Marvel Studios has 7 film projects in development. Management has obtained a non-recourse $525 million financing facility to fund green lit in-house film projects. If fully drawn, the weighted average interest rate would be LIBOR+2.25%. Film development costs, and the resulting film profits, cross through the facility; profits in excess of development and financing costs can be paid to MVL following the release of its third film, subject to minimum cash balance requirements (initially $350 million). Given the minimal capital risk to MVL, anlaysts view the financing terms as favorable.

Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" held on to first place and pulled in $23 million in the weekend box-office race; it has pulled in $91 million in two weeks for Sony (NYSE:SNE). Viacom’s (NYSE:VIA) "World Trade Center", Oliver Stone's recounting of the Sept. 11 attacks, landed at No. 3 for the weekend with a $19 million grossed. It has brought in nearly $27 million since its opening last Wednesday. Disney (NYSE:DIS) pulled a major surprise by landing at number 2 with "Step Up", which grossed $21 million.