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With no major holiday movies, DreamWorks Animation profit drops 65%

April 27, 2010 |  1:55 pm

DreamWorks Animation SKG reported a 65% drop in profit in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago, a widely anticipated swing because the company did not have a major holiday release to power sales at the beginning of the year.

The Glendale-based computer animation studio reported that it earned $21.7 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenues of $162.1 million during three months ended March 31. That compares with a profit of $62 million, or 71 cents a share, from $263 million in sales during the first quarter of 2009.

Nonetheless, the results exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 23 cents per share and revenue of $133 million.

"2010 is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to the performance of "How to Train Your Dragon,"  DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in a statement. He called the film the company's next franchise and announced plans to release a sequel in 2013.

"Dragon" was released at the end of the first quarter, on March 26. The 3-D movie had a soft opening but has gained traction at the box office, garnering nearly $375 million in ticket sales to date.

-- Richard Verrier