Disney sees studio revenue soar 21% after 'Black Panther' crushed expectations

Disney CEO Bob Iger on second-quarter earnings

The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday said that the success of Marvel's "Black Panther" helped drive 21 percent year-over-year revenue growth for its studio entertainment business.

Disney's studios saw $2.45 billion in revenue for the quarter. That figure bested Wall Street expectations for $2.19 billion in revenue, according to a StreetAccount consensus estimate.

In the current quarter, Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" had the biggest opening weekend of all time, both domestically and globally. The latest installment of the Avengers franchise crossed $1 billion at the global box office in just 11 days. That pace is faster than any other movie in history.

In a Tuesday call with analysts, Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said Disney "delivered nine of the top 10 biggest domestic box office openings of all time — all of them released within the last six years."

Here's what each business unit reported in revenue compared with what analysts expected, according to StreetAccount consensus estimates:

  • Media and networks: $6.14 billion vs. $6.09 billion expected
  • Parks and resorts: $4.88 billion vs. $4.69 billion expected
  • Studio: $2.45 billion vs. $2.19 billion expected
  • Consumer and interactive: $1.08 billion vs. $1.14 billion expected

Disney's earnings report comes after its blockbuster deal to acquire many parts of Twenty-First Century Fox. The boards of both companies asked longtime CEO Iger to stay on through the end of 2021.

If completed, Disney would get Fox's television and film studios, regional sports networks, cable channels National Geographic and FX. The entertainment giant would also grow its international presence through Asian pay-TV operator Star India and a stake in Sky TV. It would also get Fox's stake in Hulu. That plus its existing position would give Disney a controlling stake in the streaming service.

On Monday, CNBC reported that Comcast plans to make an all-cash bid for Fox if the Justice Department approves AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Comcast's offer would top Disney's and include a full acquisition of Sky, sources said.

Iger declined to comment to CNBC on Comcast's reported plans, saying he didn't want to speculate on the matter. He said, however, that he's confident that Disney's deal with Fox will close.

"We made a good deal, actually a deal that shareholders reacted quite favorably to and we're going to remain confident in our ability to close," Iger told CNBC's Julia Boorstin on "Closing Bell."

Iger pointed out that Disney's offer received unanimous approval from the Fox board.

"They obviously believed not only in what we were paying but how we were paying for it," he said.

CNBC previously reported that fear of being outspent on content was one of the main reasons Rupert Murdoch decided to sell those Fox assets. Tech giants like Netflix and Amazon have poured money into their streaming services, making the content bidding wars increasingly competitive.

Disney's proposed acquisition of Fox assets would broaden the company's content portfolio, making it more competitive.

The company also posted better-than-expected earnings and revenue on Tuesday.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • Adjusted earnings: $1.84 per share vs. $1.70 per share forecast by Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $14.55 billion vs. $14.11 billion forecast by Thomson Reuters

Shares of Disney initially gained more than 1 percent in after-hours trade. Shares of Disney have fallen about 6 percent so far this year.

Fox is slated to report earnings after the market close on Wednesday.

— CNBC's Michelle Fox contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and Comcast is a also a co-owner of Hulu.

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