Walt Disney Co: Marvel Acquisition Paying Dividends

| About: The Walt (DIS)

Look in the sky...It's a bird? It's a plane? It's the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) opening weekend box office numbers for their seminal new superhero series The Avengers.

Combining a cast of newly acquired famed Marvel characters into one enthralling superhero smörgåsbord, The Avengers brought in a record $200.3 million in its opening weekend in 4300 U.S. theaters. This surpassed the previous domestic record for any movie's first three days remarked Disney in a press release Sunday.

This culmination of other preceding back story movies feature a high profile cast of notable characters of comic book lore. The stateside run for Disney began on Friday when the movie took in an estimated $80.5 million, a figure described as the second-highest one-day domestic total.

The numbers for Saturday are also equally impressive. Saturday's receipts added up to $69.7 million, which Disney reported was a record of that weekend day.

Add international ticket sales since opening April 25 -- including openings in Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Malaysia, New Zealand and the Philippines -- and The Avengers has already amassed $641.8 million in its first 12 days.

The Avengers setting box office records both domestically and internationally this past weekend is proof of this investment giving them a needed infusion of cash that will help erase recent bad memories of John Carter.

While this movie was already predicted to be an international blockbuster, the performance outpaced predicted estimations by a significant margin. Couple that with rave reviews, myself included, and the first Marvel movie produced by Disney looks to be an unbridled success.

To put this in perspective, the last highly-anticipated Harry Potter film only brought in $168 million in its opening weekend in arguably one of the best movie weekends of the year in July.

The acquisition of Marvel three years ago is beginning to look more and more like a very lucrative and wise decision. I think they have hit it out of the park with this one. It will take a few more years for the impact to be completely realized because of the large initial price tag. It has the potential to become another Pixar in a few years when profits have begun to completely pay for the original investment capital.

With rising uncertainty in the market over the next couple months, I look at Disney as a safe defensive place to put your money until waters are less choppy.

When the economy turns downward one of the less effected sectors is the movie business. It is a cheap form of escapism enjoyed equally by the masses. Disney also has another superhero blockbuster slated for release in early July. My personal favorite, The Amazing Spider-Man, looks to have an edgier take on the Peter Parker role.


I think Disney has really purchased a cash cow in Marvel maybe even rivaling Pixar. I am, indeed, a comic lover since childhood so I am willing to admit an emotional bias from the start.

Disclosure: I am long DIS.