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Disney shifts Pixar film out of 2014, could hit earnings

The Pixar logo at the main gate of Pixar Animation Studiosin Emeryville, California.
Getty Images
The Pixar logo at the main gate of Pixar Animation Studiosin Emeryville, California.

Disney's decision to push back the release dates of two Pixar films comes as a surprise and could see some analysts revise their earnings estimate for the mass media powerhouse.

The company announced Wednesday that it will delay the release of its next Pixar film, "The Good Dinosaur," by a year and a half to November 2015. It will also delay the release of "Finding Dory" by seven months to June 2016.

While movie schedules are often shifted this move is unusual; with no other Pixar films ready for release this will mark the first time Pixar has not had a film in a calendar year since 2005.

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Pixar's films tend to turn be blockbusters for Disney, typically grossing around $500 million. For instance, "Monster University"—this summer's Pixar release—is the fourth best performing film in the U.S. so far this year and has grossed over $730 million worldwide.

With one less film scheduled for release in 2014, Disney's studio division will face some tough comparisons in its next fiscal year. The lack of a Pixar film in 2014 could also impact the company's consumer product segment, which often gets a boost following a Pixar release due to the popularity of the movie characters. The question is whether Wall Street analysts consider the move material enough to adjust any earnings expectations for the next fiscal year

What was the reason for the delay? Pixar simply needed more time.

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A Pixar spokesperson said: "We continue to believe at Pixar, 'quality is the best business plan' and we live by that. It is because of this we have decided to move the release date of 'The Good Dinosaur' to November 27, 2015, to ensure we make the best film possible."

This move comes as Disney's are shares trading around an all-time high and the studio's films holding the first and fourth spots in the ranking of the most successful films of the year. Disney seems comfortable with the delay—it would rather wait than risk releasing a film that does not live up to Pixar's standards.

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin

Editor's note: The language in this post on analyst sentiment has been revised.

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.