Don’t pity The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). For as badly as The Lone Ranger is performing at the box office, the company’s Buena Vista Pictures is earning as much as ever.
More on why that is shortly. First, let’s dig into the bad news. Minions mastered the masked man in the film’s opening weekend as Despicable Me 2 took in $83.5 million over the July 4th weekend versus just $29.2 million for The Lone Ranger, Box Office Mojo reports.
As bad as the showing is for The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA)‘s Universal Pictures walks away with another winner. Despicable Me already ranks as the 10th top grossing animated feature of all time after opening at $56.4 million in July 2010. That the sequel opened more than $20 million better bodes well both for the film and for Universal’s animated efforts.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) won’t be as fortunate with The Lone Ranger, which is why so many are comparing this flop-in-the-making to John Carter, last year’s $250 million box office bomb that effectively ended the The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) career of former studio chief Rich Ross.
If only he knew then what we know now. John Carter, for as big a disaster as it was, did nothing to diminish the House of Mouse’s theatrical prowess. Here’s a closer look at the year-over-year numbers from Jan. 1 through June 30:
|Buena Vista Year-Over-Year Comparison||YTD 2013||YTD 2012||Change|
|Number of films||10||12**||(2)|
|Total U.S. box office||$886.8 million||$949.8 million||(6.6%)|
|Per-film average||$88.7 million||$79.2 million||11.9%|
After achieving $800 million in domestic box office receipts only once since 2000 (in 2010), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has done at least that in both 2012 and this year. Impressive may be too timid a word for how well Buena Vista is doing right now.
Credit two very big films — Marvel’s The Avengers and Iron Man 3 — which earned more than $1 billion each in global box office receipts. Last year, The Avengers led The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) to a $100 million, or 17%, increase in studio profit, S&P Capital IQ reports. The tough comparable could make similar gains hard to come by in 2013. But profits? There should be plenty to go around, thanks to Iron Man 3.