Marvel Q3 profit down

Due to a lack of feature film releases this year

Marvel Entertainment's third-quarter profit and revenue were significantly lower than in the same frame a year ago but good enough for Wall Street, considering that the company had no major film releases on which to lean.

Marvel reported a 60% drop in profit to $20.4 million as revenue declined 42% to $105.7 million.

The report came before the start of trading, and shares finished the day fractionally higher at $50.20.

Shares of Marvel, though, won't deviate much from that price because Disney is purchasing the company for $4 billion in stock and cash, valuing Marvel stock at about $50 a share.

Executives said Tuesday that they expect the deal to close before year's end. Because of the impending acquisition, Marvel didn't bother to host a conference call to discuss its financial results.

Marvel took the biggest hit in its film production unit, with sales of $24.8 million, 73% lower than a year ago when "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" were transitioning from theaters to DVD.

Both publishing and licensing took in more revenue than did film production in the third quarter. Licensing fell 16% to $48.9 million, and publishing was off 6% to $32 million.

Marvel's next film is from its own studio, "Iron Man 2," scheduled for May 7. A year later, the company will have two films released in the same month: "Spider-Man 4," a licensed film scheduled for May 6, 2011, and "Thor," from Marvel's studio, scheduled for May 20, 2011.

Also from its own studio is "The First Avenger: Captain America" set for July 22, 2011, and "The Avengers," due May 4, 2012.