The Walt Disney Company

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  • Sat, Jan. 9, 2:30 PM
    • Records are coming in for a landing (again) for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
    • With one day down in its wide release in China, the Disney (NYSE:DIS) film has grossed about $33M, the best Saturday opening day ever in China, and the best opening day for Disney there.
    • By comparison, Jurassic World -- the No. 3 global grosser that The Force Awakens will surely pass this weekend -- opened to $17.24M on a June Wednesday. It ended up with about $229M total in China, while global No. 1 Avatar grossed about $210M in the country in 2010.
    • China is the last territory in the world to receive the film. A Hollywood Reporter poll suggested theater operators expect the Star Wars film to gross between $200M and $330M in China.
    • The Force Awakens is already the top-grossing domestic film of all time at $781M, having passed Avatar's $760.5M on Wednesday.
    • Previously: Disney makes it official: 'Star Wars' is all-time domestic box-office king (Jan. 06 2016)
    • Previously: Disney -2.2% as Macquarie downgrades, Cowen sees tougher 2016 (Jan. 05 2016)
    | Sat, Jan. 9, 2:30 PM | 64 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 6, 7:44 PM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens has gone farther, farther away than any movie in domestic box-office history, as Walt Disney (DIS -0.5%) says it has passed Avatar's $760.5M total in just 20 days.
    • It might have set the mark yesterday, but sat just on the cusp with $758.2M. Avatar had set its record with a complete 34-week theatrical run in 2009 and a special re-release in 2010.
    • On a global basis, The Force Awakens' $1.56B makes it still No. 4, behind Avatar, Titanic and Jurassic World.
    • That last film is next in Disney's sights, with $1.669B worldwide gross, and that should be easy pickings with The Force Awakens set to open in China, the world's No. 2 film market, on Saturday.
    • A rampaging success there is no sure thing, however, as the series doesn't have major history in the Middle Kingdom. A Hollywood Reporter poll of theater-chain CEOs suggests the film will draw just $200M-$330M in China.
    • Previously: Report: Starz gets bargain pay-TV rights to 'The Force Awakens' (Jan. 05 2016)
    • Previously: Disney -2.2% as Macquarie downgrades, Cowen sees tougher 2016 (Jan. 05 2016)
    | Wed, Jan. 6, 7:44 PM | 29 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 5, 8:18 PM
    • Starz (STRZA -1.4%) is the channel with the pay-TV rights to galaxy-buster Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- and on the cheap, according to The New York Post.
    • The channel is paying a bargain $17.5M for the rights, The Post reports, based on an expiring deal with Walt Disney (DIS -2%) that covered movies in theaters through 2015's end.
    • Disney has a new distribution deal with Netflix, who likely would have had to pay $40M for the rights, a source says. Starz, meanwhile, usually has to pay about $4M per hour of original programming.
    • Netflix does get to stream The Force Awakens -- in Canada, and will pick up later Star Wars films in America.
    • “The benefit to Starz is it’s a sleepy brand and it will stir some excitement," says Albert Fried's Rich Tullo. "It’s like having a Super Bowl to launch other programming.”
    • Previously: Disney -2.2% as Macquarie downgrades, Cowen sees tougher 2016 (Jan. 05 2016)
    | Tue, Jan. 5, 8:18 PM | 37 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 5, 12:04 PM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to pass Avatar and become the top domestic grossing movie of all time today -- but investing is an expectations game and sometimes historically good is not quite good enough, as Macquarie is downgrading Disney (DIS -2.2%) to Neutral and Cowen says goodness was already baked in.
    • While the film is currently charging through cash registers worldwide, Macquarie's Tim Nollen says its goodness and hype are already behind it, and the company's film slate and park potential (depending on Shanghai) are well known, leaving Disney to deal with lingering worries about cord-cutting at ESPN. He prefers CBS or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) among media stocks.
    • Meanwhile, Cowen analysts are bumping estimates to account for Star Wars but note the market has sold the news, with Disney down 10% since the day before it came out. Not only is ESPN a lingering question, but "blockbuster saturation" makes for new film challenges as well.
    • While Cowen's Doug Creutz and Stephen Glagola expect solid hits in the coming year from Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory and Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, "we are less convinced that other upcoming big-budget films such as Zootopia and Doctor Strange can maintain Disney’s hot streak at the box office given the competitive environment, and worry that studio earnings may be hitting an unsustainable peak."
    | Tue, Jan. 5, 12:04 PM | 78 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 7:21 PM
    • Turner Broadcasting (NYSE:TWX) is testing a sort of native advertising on TV -- seeking to produce longer-form content for sponsors that could replace some typical TV ad spots.
    • The company last year unveiled "Courageous," its internal studio set to create work for advertisers on HLN and CNN, and today promised to replace traditional commercial pods with "a space more powerful and impactful to the viewer.”
    • First efforts could come via Turner's truTV, which has said that starting in Q4 2016 it would cut the amount of time commercials take up per hour -- just 10-11 minutes, vs. 18-19 minutes today -- which may signal longer-form ad breaks sold at a premium to make up for fewer advertising spots overall.
    • Fox Networks (FOX, FOXA) and A&E (NYSE:DIS) have recently struck similar deals with marketing and ad sales veterans to experiment with original content featuring advertisers or sponsors.
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 7:21 PM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 3:51 PM
    • With Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS -2.2%) trucking toward Avatar's domestic box office record following a $90M weekend, there were still slimmer pickings for competitors who nonetheless pursued more holiday moviegoers.
    • Paramount's Daddy's Home (VIA -2.1%, VIAB -1.2%) held down the No. 2 spot for the second weekend and actually held a lot of its audience, dropping from a first-weekend $38.7M to $29.2M and adding up to $93.9M in its cumulative take.
    • Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters (CMCSA -1.1%) showed some strength in its third week as well, holding up with $12.8M for the No. 4 spot ($62.9M total), and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (FOX -2.4%, FOXA -2.2%) drew $11.8M for the No. 5 position ($67.4M total). Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (Weinstein Co.) went wide at the No. 3 spot with $15.7M total.
    • Elsewhere, while U.S. theaters booked a record year of $11.01B, global box office hit a record $38B in 2015, Rentrak says, with China up nearly 50% Y/Y to $6.77B -- another data point setting up tough comps for 2016.
    • Previously: Exhibitor stocks whacked after 2016 U.S. box forecasts taken lower (Jan. 04 2016)
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 3:51 PM
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 2:33 AM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to surpass Avatar this week as the highest-grossing film of all time in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
    • After a gross of $88.3M in its third weekend, the domestic total for Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) The Force Awakens stands at $740.3M - about $10M shy of Avatar's gross in the North American box office.
    • What about globally? While Avatar's total world-wide gross was $2.8B, The Force Awakens currently stands at $1.5B, but the latter hasn't yet opened in China (the world's second largest movie market).
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 2:33 AM | 25 Comments
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 4:05 PM
    • Hollywood has capped off a record year of just over $11B at the box office -- with a little help at the end from some Star Warriors -- and the spoils aren't evenly divided between studios, as Universal has pulled off a historic hit year.
    • A boost from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its record-smashing performance pushed receipts past the $10.9B previous record, from 2013, by 1.5%. The $11B-plus was up 7.3% Y/Y.
    • With final numbers still coming in, admissions look flat, but higher ticket prices are providing a revenue boost.
    • Universal (CMCSA -0.4%) and Walt Disney (DIS -1.1%) drove the year with dominating performances, while Paramount (VIA +1.7%, VIAB +0.9%), Fox (FOX -0.4%, FOXA -0.4%), Sony (SNE -0.4%) and Lions Gate (LGF +0.1%) all declined Y/Y.
    • Universal's performance came from several of the year's biggest hits, notably Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades of Grey. For its part, aside from an in-progress record push by Star Wars (about to surpass Jurassic World's domestic gross), Disney also put Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out into the year's top five. Both of those drew more than $350M at home.
    • Moviegoers who crave more original screenplays may end up disappointed, if studios learn any lesson from this record year: Seven of the top 10 films were sequels and remakes, and the top two (Jurassic World and Star Wars) are from franchises dating to 1993 and 1977 respectively.
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 4:05 PM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 30, 2015, 5:25 PM
    • Nielsen has awarded its TV series ratings crown for 2015, and football is still the king.
    • Sunday Night Football on NBC (CMCSA -1.5%) drew 23.3M viewers to top the charts among regularly scheduled series ahead of a pair of CBS (CBS -1.1%) shows. The Big Bang Theory and NCIS drew 21.1M viewers and 20.9M viewers respectively to take the next two spots for the Tiffany network.
    • A cable monster was fourth: The Walking Dead (AMCX -1.8%) pulled 19.7M viewers.
    • Unsurprisingly, football dominated the individual-show performances, marking nine of the top 10 programs (the uninvited guest was ABC's (DIS -0.7%) broadcast of the Oscars).
    • The rest of the top 10 series: No. 5, Empire on Fox (FOX -0.9%, FOXA -1%); No. 6, Thursday Night Football (CBS, NFL Network); No. 7, NCIS: New Orleans on CBS; No. 8, Sunday Night Fooball Pre-Kick on NBC; No. 9, Blue Bloods on CBS; and No. 10, Dancing with the Stars on ABC.
    | Dec. 30, 2015, 5:25 PM | 12 Comments
  • Dec. 30, 2015, 10:10 AM
    • Though retail sales in the U.S. have disappointed across a number of categories this year, the theme park sector has quietly outperformed broad market averages.
    • Lower gas prices in the U.S. and some improvement on the employment front have helped to drive guest spending and traffic at theme parks even as ticket prices were raised. The YTD returns at Six Flags (+27%), Cedar Fair (+17%), SeaWorld Entertainment (+13%) are all much higher than the meager 1% gain in the S&P 500 Index. The theme park segment at Disney (NYSE:DIS) has also been a profit driver, helping to lift the House of Mouse's shares 13% this year.
    • If the scope is widened outside of theme parks a bit - Royal Caribbean (+24%), Carnival (+22%), and Dave & Buster's Entertainment (+54%) are all showing outsized gains this year which could be partially attributed to low gas prices.
    • Consumer-happy stocks: SIX, FUN, SEAS, DIS, RCL, CCL, PLAY.
    | Dec. 30, 2015, 10:10 AM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 29, 2015, 2:52 PM
    • Disney (DIS -0.1%) scored a larger than normal cut from exhibitors for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, sources tell CNBC.
    • The studio's opening weekend percentage of 60% is above the industry average of around 55%. The higher revenue split is likely to continue throughout the extended run of the movie. Disney also secured a four-week commitment from theater chains, instead of the normal three-week arrangement
    • The strong response to the blockbuster also sets up Disney to generate more from home entertainment providers.
    • On the exhibitor side, the smaller cut on Star Wars is more than offset by gains made on the high-margin concession business at scale, although there are some lingering concerns that Disney's leverage will filter down to other studios when they renegotiate box-sharing deals.
    • Exhibitor stocks are up with the rest of the market today, led by AMC Entertainment (AMC +1.9%) and Carmike Cinemas (CKEC +1.1%).
    | Dec. 29, 2015, 2:52 PM | 32 Comments
  • Dec. 28, 2015, 11:12 AM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a monster during its second weekend, bringing in another $153.5M in the U.S.
    • The overall U.S. box office was up 42% from the post-Christmas weekend a year ago with seven other movies topping $10M (Daddy's Home, Joy, Sisters, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Concussion, The Big Short, Point Break).
    • For the year, the U.S. box office is up 5% Y/Y to $10.892B with another few days to go.
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) is up 1% on the day, while exhibitor stocks (AMC, RGC, CNK, CKEC, RDI, IMAX) are mixed.
    • Previously: 'The Force Awakens' becomes fastest movie to hit $1B milestone (Dec. 28 2015)
    | Dec. 28, 2015, 11:12 AM | 7 Comments
  • Dec. 28, 2015, 2:43 AM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossed the billion-dollar mark on Sunday, accomplishing the feat in just 12 days, and it hasn't even opened in China, the world's second largest movie market.
    • "It's bigger than big," Disney (NYSE:DIS) CEO Bob Iger told Bloomberg TV. "It's bigger than we thought it would be."
    • Prior to The Force Awakens, the fastest film to cross the $1B threshold was Universal Pictures' Jurassic World, which took just 13 days after its release in June.
    • Previously: The Force remains with new 'Star Wars' movie (Dec. 27 2015)
    | Dec. 28, 2015, 2:43 AM | 27 Comments
  • Dec. 27, 2015, 8:41 AM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (NYSE:DIS) is poised to pass $1B in worldwide ticket sales this weekend and become the first picture to reach that mark so quickly.
    • The film generated box-office revenue of $890.3M worldwide through Christmas Day, and previously recorded the the biggest opening weekend ever with $529M globally.
    • Prior to The Force Awakens, the fastest movie to cross the $1B threshold was Universal Pictures' Jurassic World, which took just 13 days after its release in June.
    | Dec. 27, 2015, 8:41 AM | 123 Comments
  • Dec. 24, 2015, 2:19 AM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and CEO Bob Iger saw his reported compensation drop 3.4% to $44.9M in 2015, as his cash bonus shrank and the value of a pension declined because of an accounting change.
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is part of the current fiscal year so his 2015 pay didn't reflect its performance. Still, like many media CEOs, Iger is frequently among the highest-paid executives in the country.
    • Disney shares +12% YTD.
    | Dec. 24, 2015, 2:19 AM | 58 Comments
  • Dec. 22, 2015, 6:20 PM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is in talks to get out of its joint venture in digital network Fusion, which it launched in 2013 with Univision.
    • The talks concern Univision taking full control of ownership and operation of the network, which includes digital properties as well as its cable channel.
    • Fusion moved rapidly from an early focus on second-generation Latinos to target the entire millennial demographic, and its journalistic coverage has come to address a wide swath of topics and general-interest subject matter.
    • The cable channel, though, has struggle to get traction as it's not carried by No. 1 U.S. carrier Comcast.
    • For its part, Univision recently acquired African-American focused The Root as part of its moves to expand its digital footprint.
    | Dec. 22, 2015, 6:20 PM | 11 Comments
Company Description
Walt Disney Co together with its subsidiaries is a diversified entertainment company with operations in five business segments: Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products and Interactive.