The Walt Disney Company Earnings: "Frozen" Is Still Hot

By Markets Fool.com

Shares of media powerhouse Walt Disney are soaring in after-hours trading, following the release of strong first-quarter results. More than a year after the debut of Frozen, Disney is still riding Princess Anna and Queen Elsa to greater heights.

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First-quarter sales rose 9% year over year, stopping at $13.4 billion. Analysts were expecting just $12.9 billion. On the bottom line, the average Wall Street analyst would have settled for earnings of $1.07 per share. Disney delivered $1.27 per share, blowing estimates out of the water.

Disney is now riding a six-quarter streak of positive earnings surprises. The stock has been crushing the market over the past several years, thanks to great reports like this one.

CEO Bob Iger wasn't keen on picking favorites, giving credit instead to Disney's strong collection of brands.

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, still smiling about Elsa and Anna. Image source: Disney.

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"Our results once again reflect the strength of our brands and high quality content and demonstrate that our proven franchise strategy creates long-term value across all of our businesses," Iger said in a prepared statement.

But it's not hard to do the math. Disney's studio entertainment division saw sales shrinking 2% year over year. Comparing the theatrical sales of Big Hero 6 to Frozen just isn't a fair fight. Meanwhile, Frozen teamed up with Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent in the home entertainment segment, absolutely crushing The Lone Ranger and Thor: The Dark World from the year-ago quarter.

Frozen and friends also drove a 22% increase in licensed consumer product sales. Retail store sales also prospered in all regions -- "driven by sales of Frozen merchandise."

Parks and resorts delivered a 9% annual revenue boost, while media networks grew sales by 11%. Operating profits rose in every single segment, driving free cash flows 55% higher.

Disney is the only major Hollywood stock to have beaten the market over the last year. This fine first-quarter report keeps the fires burning, lifting Disney shares as much as 7% in after-hours action.

The article The Walt Disney Company Earnings: "Frozen" Is Still Hot originally appeared on Fool.com.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.