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May 09, 2012, 02.56 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Disney earnings rise despite 'John Carter' loss

DISNEY:Disney earnings rise despite 'John Carter' loss

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's quarterly earnings, dragged down by a loss from science fiction bomb "John Carter," beat Wall Street expectations with 21 percent profit growth driven by its theme parks and media networks.

Disney, which operates theme parks, a movie studio and TV properties, posted fiscal second quarter earnings of $1.1 billion and a 6 percent increase in revenue to $9.629 billion.

Adjusted earnings per share rose 18 percent to 58 cents. Analysts on average had expected 55 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The quarterly results do not include the massive results from Disney's blockbuster superhero movie "The Avengers," which set an industry record on May 6 by grossing $207.4 million in ticket sales over its first weekend. Total worldwide sales for the movie are $702 million.

The film studio recorded an $84 million loss in operating income on "John Carter," which cost $250 million to produce and millions more to market.

As in recent quarters, Disney earnings were boosted by its media unit, which includes the sports channel ESPN and ABC. Operating earnings in that unit increased 13 percent to $1.7 billion in the latest quarter.

Earnings at the theme park unit rose 53 percent to $222 million.

"You've got a parks recovery that's underway, and you have a cable network business that's best in class. It showed good growth on the top-line there," said Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible, who rates Disney a "buy" with a $49 price target.

Disney shares rose 1.7 percent to $45.10 in after-hours trade, up from an earlier close of $44.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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