Thu, Jul. 9, 8:54 PM
- San Diego Comic-Con has increasingly been an annual launch pad for astronomically-budgeted films, particularly as superheroes have dominated U.S. entertainment, but so far it belongs to TV as many film franchises (particularly Marvel) sit this one out.
- That's mainly a matter of film timing, but TV is taking advantage. Shows like Supergirl (NYSE:CBS) and Blindspot and Heroes Reborn (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are taking advantage of the fan base to tease their fall efforts, as are Minority Report and Gotham (FOX, FOXA) and Agent Carter (NYSE:DIS). (TV clips)
- With Marvel headed into "Phase Three" of its cinematic universe in 2016, it's taking the year off. Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) and Paramount (VIA, VIAB) are sitting it out too, leaving a lot of room for DC Comics and its work with Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX), including Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. But there's still the last installment of The Hunger Games (NYSE:LGF) as well as Star Wars events to come, though Disney may hold key nuggets back until it hosts D23.
- Comic-Con runs through Sunday.
- Previously: With no Marvel, TWX and DC could grab Comic-Con focus (Jun. 18 2015)
Thu, Jul. 9, 7:48 PM
- Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) $5.5B Shanghai resort -- its largest foreign investment ever -- is coming together with some distinct differences from previous parks, primarily a laser-like focus on Chinese culture at a place where adult visitors may outnumber children four to one.
- That's in part due to extended families traveling together, along with China's one-child policy that has crimped birth rates. The park adjusts seating, restaurants, viewing spaces and other adult hangouts accordingly.
- “We’re building something that’s authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese," Chairman Robert Iger says. Shanghai Disneyland is set to open next spring, within a three-hour drive of 330M potential visitors.
- The castle that will anchor the Shanghai park will be the biggest out of six, and topped off with a golden peony, beloved by the Chinese.
- It's no slam dunk -- competition is heavy with the number of amusement parks in China set to rise to 850 this year (up 40% from 2006) -- but Disney says it's learning from past mistakes. After being dinged for food choice and the small size of parks and lodging in Paris and Hong Kong, Disney's counting on heavy local food inclusion, and an upsized park with at least 1,220 rooms on site.
- Previously: Disney up 2.5% early as network, park strength lead Q2 beat (May. 05 2015)
Wed, Jul. 8, 3:21 PM
- Nomura says some tough comps are coming next month for Disney (DIS -1.3%), even if it still likes the stock overall.
- Last year's Q3 (ending in August) benefited from World Cup ad dollars, and consumer products are likely to be skewed to Q4 this year with Star Wars events coming in September and beyond, note analysts Anthony DiClemente and Benjamin Black.
- The two lowered their Q3 EPS estimate to $1.39, from $1.44 (vs. a consensus of $1.43). Their full-year forecast is unchanged and Nomura's price target on the stock of $125 implies an 8% upside from today's price.
- Frozen makes for tough comparisons both in consumer products and considering its Q3 international home entertainment release last year. And the pair expects that despite the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out, "given the soft Tomorrowland box office showing, we now expect the Frozen comp to more than offset theatrical. As such, we are lowering our F3Q15E Studio OI growth estimate to -19% YoY."
- Previously: Disney wins tax break in exchange for $1B theme park investment (Jul. 08 2015)
- Previously: Disney starts Playmation toy demos, preorders; stock at record high (Jul. 07 2015)
- Previously: 'Tomorrowland' leads a weaker holiday box office (May. 25 2015)
Wed, Jul. 8, 8:02 AM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) won a 30-year extension of a moratorium on ticket taxes in Anaheim, Calif., in exchange for a commitment to invest $1B in its two theme parks there.
- In a vote last night, the City Council granted DIS an exemption from any future entertainment tax that might be levied on tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure.
- The theme parks provide more than half of Anaheim’s general fund revenue - $148M annually in hotel, sales, property and business license taxes.
Tue, Jul. 7, 9:34 PM
- Next week, the FCC is looking to keep a landmark broadcast incentive wireless spectrum auction on track for early next year despite contentious debates from stakeholders -- and if it does, it's a boon for T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), says Guggenheim's Paul Gallant.
- That's because though T-Mobile and Sprint (NYSE:S) have pushed for a bigger reserve of spectrum for "smaller carriers" (i.e.: them), a delay might mean that the current 30 MHz set-aside was at risk.
- Meanwhile, the airwaves will be coming from TV broadcasters who must go along with any plan -- meaning they expect to see prices they like. A group representing smaller broadcasters say if the framework isn't revised, opening prices for broadcasters could be reduced by $8M.
- Major broadcasters (ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS, NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA), FOX) aren't expected to be key airwaves sellers, while smaller groups like Sinclair (NASDAQ:SBGI) and Entravision (NYSE:EVC) are expected to sell.
- Related firms: T, VZ
- Previously: FCC chairman: Cap bid credits, keep smaller spectrum set-aside (Jun. 25 2015)
Tue, Jul. 7, 5:26 PM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is giving in-store demos of its technology-laced Playmation toy line in North American stores this week, and has begun accepting preorders for the toys.
- The toys -- developed along with partner Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), and designed to interact with one another using infrared, Bluetooth and motion sensors and to encourage active play -- launch on Oct. 4 with a line based on Marvel's Avengers.
- The demos will be available through launch in Disney stores, including reserved 30-minute slots for a heavier orientation with the toys.
- Disney shares rose 1.2% today to reach a record high of $117.19. Earlier today, Atlantic Securities upgraded Disney stock to Overweight.
- And in Star Wars news, a spinoff film focused on a young Han Solo is planned for May 25, 2018, with Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (the directing team behind The Lego Movie and the 21 Jump Street films) attached to direct.
- Previously: Disney unveils high-tech, active-play Playmation toys (Jun. 02 2015)
Mon, Jul. 6, 4:31 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) says that Vince Roberts, CTO of its Disney/ABC Television Group, is retiring in January after more than 30 years with the company.
- Roberts was with Disney for the launch of the Disney Channel, and had pressed the company to adopt new technology and worked on a cloud-based master control system for ABC.
- He had been in his current position, and executive VP of global operation at the group, since October 2010.
Mon, Jul. 6, 1:09 PM
- A holiday weekend at the box office failed to produce sparks from high-profile new releases, as it was June's dinosaurs and Pixar that kept ruling the day.
- Over the five-day holiday period, it was Inside Out (DIS +0.5%) that earned the crown with $45.3M, to $43.8M grossed by Jurassic World (CMCSA +0.2%). On the more standard three-day measure, Jurassic World edged Inside Out in preliminary numbers, $30.9M to $30.1M, to lead the box office for the fourth straight weekend.
- That brings Inside Out to $246.2M in domestic grosses in three weeks, while Jurassic World has over $558M in four weeks to become the No. 4 domestic grosser of all time (and No. 5 globally with $1.385B).
- Meanwhile, high-profile new entries were mild disappointments -- Terminator: Genisys (VIA -1.1%, VIAB -1.1%) earned $28.7M over three days to finish a close third, and drew $44.2M over the five-day holiday; and Magic Mike XXL (TWX -1.1%) was fourth with $11.6M in three days and $27M over five days, drawing a 96% female audience (high even considering the male-stripper subject matter).
- Disney crossed the $3B mark globally, as Inside Out continues to cruise, and Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in its last international market, pulling $6.5M in two days in Japan. It's the sixth year that Disney has earned $3B globally, but the fast it has done so, five weeks faster than last year's record of Aug. 5.
- Updated 6:17 p.m.: Final figures show that Inside Out prevailed both in the three-day measure ($29.8M to Jurassic World's $29.2M) and the five-day holiday figures ($45.1M to Jurassic World's $42.1M).
Sat, Jul. 4, 3:36 PM
- The halfway point of 2015 has come for film studios, and fireworks are popping at Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), as its Universal Pictures continues to ring up a banner year.
- Through last weekend, Universal leads studios in domestic grosses with just short of $1.38B. That's good for 25% market share, lifted by the runaway success of Jurassic World ($500M domestic), Furious 7 ($351M), and nicely performing Pitch Perfect 2 ($181M) and Fifty Shades of Grey ($166M).
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) recently set their own record times to the $1B domestic mark. Disney, with $1.08B domestic, has a 19.7% market share marked by Avengers: Age of Ultron ($452.5M), Cinderella ($200.3M) and Inside Out ($185M and counting), while Warner Bros., with $1.02B, has an 18.5% market share chiefly due to American Sniper ($348.8M).
- Universal's domestic grosses are running up 138% from last year's pace at this point, while Disney's are up 37% and Warner Bros. up 16.7%.
- Sony (SNE; $218.7M) and Paramount (VIA, VIAB; $276.6M) are working with smaller film slates so far, with just four and three films out respectively, compared to Universal's nine, Disney's seven, and Warner's 13. Fox (FOX, FOXA; $641M gross) is running fourth so far with seven films.
- Key films ready to take their turn this summer: Paramount's Terminator: Genisys and Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation, Warner's Magic Mike XXL and Universal's Minions.
Wed, Jul. 1, 7:21 PM
- Shoving its way onto the cordless-streaming bus today is Lifetime, the movie-of-the-week-focused channel owned by A&E (NYSE:DIS).
- The "Lifetime Movie Club" will offer a streaming selection of 30 movies for $3.99/month with no pay-TV required. Films will rotate every week, and only library content is available, not live television.
- Lifetime has been cautious about licensing its favorites to other over-the-top services. Of a library of about 300 films, about 10-20 are available on Netflix.
- Going their own way rather than licensing to a bigger player will give Lifetime more control over the branding experience and may provide more valuable viewer data than it would get otherwise.
Tue, Jun. 30, 2:08 PM
- Walt Disney (DIS +1.5%) has chosen Treasurer Christine McCarthy as the new CFO, succeeding Jay Rasulo, and tapped Kevin Mayer as its chief strategy officer.
- McCarthy will report directly to CEO Bob Iger, while Mayer will report jointly to Iger and COO Thomas Staggs.
- As the firm's CFO, McCarthy will have responsibility now for Investor Relations, Corporate Planning and Control, Tax, Corporate Treasury, Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, Integrated Supply Chain Management, and Corporate Citizenship.
Mon, Jun. 29, 2:30 PM
- Walt Disney (DIS -1.2%) says it's combining its consumer products and interactive divisions, in a marketplace "increasingly influenced by technology."
- The new group -- Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media -- will be run by co-chairs, Leslie Ferraro (consumer products president) and Jimmy Pitaro (interactive president).
- The move will mean sharing expertise across two divisions that Disney feels have become shaped by providing key interactive experiences.
- A new team, DCPI Labs, will report to the two co-chairs to that end. Children's-book division Disney Publishing Worldwide will also report to the new unit.
- The businesses will be reported as one segment at the beginning of fiscal 2016.
Mon, Jun. 29, 11:10 AM
- Jurassic World (CMCSA -0.9%) was again king at the box office, logging its third straight week at the top and becoming the fifth-highest grossing domestic release of all time.
- The picture with dino legs marked $54.2M, edging the $52.1M earned by Inside Out (DIS -0.7%), no slouch in its second week. Pixar's family film has $185M in cumulative domestic grosses.
- Thoughts of Ted 2 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) challenging those two with its debut went up in smoke as the film drew $32.9M, some $15M less than expected, and down from its predecessor Ted's $54M opening.
- Jurassic World crossed the $500M domestic-gross line in record time.
- Another debut, military-dog story Max (TWX -0.4%), drew $12.2M to finish fourth behind Ted 2.
Fri, Jun. 26, 7:18 PM
- A short 8-K amendment filed by Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) notes that CFO Jay Rasulo -- who was set to leave his role on June 30 -- will continue at the same salary (and bonuses) as adviser to CEO Bob Iger.
- That means he could earn $5.4M in the coming year. He was reported to have a $1.75M base compensation along with $3.42M in restricted stock awards. Last year he earned another $11M in bonuses, for a total of $16.2M.
- He was already set to help with transition to a new CFO, who hasn't yet been named.
- Rasulo was once considered to be a contender as Iger's replacement at CEO, though the promotion of Tom Staggs to COO in February made Staggs the most likely heir.
- Previously: Disney's CFO, a CEO contender, steps down (Jun. 01 2015)
- Previously: Disney names COO, likely CEO successor in Staggs (Feb. 05 2015)
Fri, Jun. 26, 10:38 AM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is looking at a deal with the city of Anaheim, Calif., that would extend protections from a potential entertainment tax in return for a promise to invest $1B in Disneyland by the end of 2024.
- Disney has a tax deal with the city that dates to 1996, and a new deal would run 30 years and replace it. Disney would also get tax relief for an additional 15 years if it invested an additional $500M.
- Anaheim's city council meets July 7 to consider a resolution. It doesn't have an entertainment tax now, but if it created one, the proposed deal would reimburse Disney.
- Previously: Disney polls guests on demand-priced park ticket scheme (May. 28 2015)
- Previously: Disneyland to expand in lieu of third Anaheim park (Mar. 13 2015)
Thu, Jun. 25, 9:19 PM
- Inside Out (but not only that film) has helped power Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) past the $1B mark in domestic box office in record time this year, just 174 days in.
- That beats Disney's previous record of 188 days, and it's the 19th time that Disney has grossed at least $1B at home.
- Along with hit Inside Out, Avengers: Age of Ultron has pulled the most weight ($450.5M domestic, $1.37B worldwide), while a live-action Cinderella has brought in just shy of $200M in North America.
- It's a great 2015 so far (and with Star Wars still on the horizon), second only to Universal's year.
- On the downside, the studio may be facing a $140M writedown on Tomorrowland, an production that has drawn just $88.8M domestically despite reportedly costing a hefty $190M.
- Previously: Disney up 0.4% after 15% dividend bump (Jun. 24 2015)
- Previously: 'Inside Out' has Disney investors head over heels with new high (Jun. 22 2015)
- Previously: 'Inside Out,' 'Jurassic World' both score in huge weekend (Jun. 22 2015)
DIS vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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