Analysts who follow the company predicted that Disney would turn in earnings of 51 cents a share, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Disney were down about 8 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday. The stock rose 2 percent to close at $20.61 during the New York Stock Exchange's regular session.
Sales for the recently ended quarter reached $9.6 billion, down from $10.45 billion last year. The Street was looking for a topline of $10.07 billion.
Weakness at Disney's retail and licensing businesses also dragged on results, and its movie business had difficult comparisons with last year's strong holiday DVD sales of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Ratatouille."
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"We faced a challenging first quarter with many of our businesses impacted to various degrees by the economic downturn," Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement.
Disney's studio revenue dropped 26 percent to $1.95 billion. The company said stronger DVD releases a year ago, including "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Ratatouille," outperformed the holiday releases this year, including "WALL-E" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."
Revenue at the cable networks such as Disney Channel and ESPN rose 2 percent to $2.45 billion, but broadcasting revenue at ABC declined 14 percent to $1.45 billion.
Parks and resorts revenue fell 4 percent to $2.67 billion as attendance at the company's U.S. theme parks and hotel occupancy at its domestic resorts declined.
DVD sales for Disney Studios' "Wall-E" and "Prince Caspian" were no match for last year's titles, bringing the unit's operating profit down 64 percent to $187 million, and revenue down 26 percent to $1.95 billion in the quarter.
The Consumer Products division saw its operating profit fall 8 percent to $265 million, but revenue rose 18 percent to $773 million for the quarter.
Interactive media revenue, its video game and online unit, was broken out for the first time and showed a 13 percent gain to $313 million.
- AP and Reuters contributed to this report.