Marvel Entertainment reports flat first quarter profits

MUMBAI: Marvel Entertainment posted its first-quarter profit, which were driven by the growth  in licensing and the DVD performance of its films like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.

The company posted a profit of $44.50 million as compared to $45.20 million in the same period last year. The company’s revenues were up at $197 million as compared to $112.60 million last year.

Marvel chairman Morton Handel said, "Strong Q1 results in our licensing and film production segments reflect the power of our corporate and character brands and solid demand for Marvel-branded consumer products and the home video versions of our Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk feature films."

“Further evidence of the broad appeal of our characters is reflected in the recent success of two new Marvel character entertainment projects. This past weekend, Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine generated approximately $158 million in worldwide box office receipts including an estimated $85 million in domestic box office, the largest domestic opening weekend of 2009 to date. In addition, our new animated television project, Iron Man Armored Adventures, recently debuted as the most watched series premiere ever on Nicktoons. The debut of Iron Man Armored Adventures marks the third Marvel character animated series currently airing on domestic television. This tremendous launch demonstrates the popularity of the Iron Man brand which will be further developed by the release of Iron Man 2 in 2010," he added.

Marvel Studios recently commenced principal photography on this project, which will be supported by a global marketing, promotional and merchandising campaign. "While contributions to Marvel from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and our animated projects are relatively modest, their strategic value lies in the brand recognition they create with a growing global fan base, providing a foundation to further develop these and other brands in the future,” Handel said.

Apart from Iron Man 2, which is slated to release on 7 May, 2010, some of the other films lined up for release are Thor (20 May, 2011), The First Avenger: Captain America (22 July, 2011) and The Avengers (4 May, 2012).

Marvel’s animated TV series Super Hero Squad, which is in production is scheduled for Q3 2009 release on Cartoon Network. Additionally, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is scheduled for Q3 2011 release.

The company’s licensing segment is expected to contribute net sales of approximately $200 million – $215 million in 2009 with an operating margin of approximately 66 – 70%. The film production segment is expected to contribute revenues of approximately $135 million – $145 million in 2009 and to generate an operating margin of approximately 12% – 18%, whereas the publishing segment is expected to contribute net sales of approximately $115 million – $125 million in 2009, with an operating margin of approximately 31% – 35%, reflecting approximately $6 million in ongoing investments in digital media initiatives.

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