DreamWorks Animation Exceeds Quarterly Earnings Expectations

Jeffrey Katzenberg
Paul Jeffers

"Australia's always been very family-friendly. We've had immense success here," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said of the studio's decision to open "Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition" at Melbourne's Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which opened April 9. The exhibition features more than 400 items from the studio's history.

DreamWorks Animation blew past earnings expectations in the most recent quarter, recording 16 cents in per-share profit on $190.4 million in revenue while analysts were predicting just a penny a share on revenue of $183 million.

All of DWA's various segments showed impressive revenue growth, except for feature films, though Kung Fu Panda 3 in China had an outsized positive impact on the bottom line.

The earnings results, though, are almost besides the point as far as Wall Street is concerned, given DWA has already agreed to be acquired by Comcast's NBCUniversal for $3.8 billion, which amounts to $41 per share.

In regular trading on Thursday, DWA shares closed fractionally lower to $39.78 and after the closing bell they were up by roughly an equal amount.

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told DWA employees this week they'll keep making animated movies at DWA's Glendale campus. 

NBCU, through its relationship with Illumination Studios, has been successful with its Despicable Me/Minions franchise, but the DWA purchase gives it properties like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda to integrate into its theme parks and consumer products units.

"I'm excited to be passing the baton to Comcast, as I know they will continue to build on the foundation we've established over the past 22 years," DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said Thursday in a statement.

Due to the pending merger, DWA didn't even bother with a Q&A session with analysts after reporting earnings Thursday.

The feature films unit posted revenue that declined to $94.3 million compared to $128.7 million the same quarter a year earlier, but TV series and specials recorded $56.9 million (up from $18 million); consumer products posted $21.7 million (up from $15.1 million); and new media was at $15.1 million (up from $4.6 million).

Kung Fu Panda 3 contributed $30.9 million in revenue during the quarter, compared to $18.3 million for Home, $1.9 million for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and $1.6 million for The Penguins of Madagascar.

Library titles contributed $41.6 million in revenue during the quarter.