Marvel Q4 profit 'Iron'-clad

Quarterly profit of $63 mil, more than double previous Q4

NEW YORK -- Marvel Entertainment on Tuesday reported a stronger fourth-quarter profit thanks to the strong DVD performances of "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."

The superhero powerhouse posted a quarterly profit of $63 million, more than double the $27.6 million in the year-ago period. Revenue also more than doubled to $224.3 million from $109.3 million.

"Despite the negative comments we have heard regarding retail sales performance within the DVD market, we are very pleased to report that both 'The Incredible Hulk' and 'Iron Man' DVDs have been performing at or above our expectations," Marvel CFO Kenneth West told analysts Tuesday.

Marvel said that, in 2008, the "Iron Man" DVD brought in $190 million in revenue, while "The Incredible Hulk" DVD contributed $14 million.

For 2008, Marvel reported record revenue and profit. Execs even reiterated their full-year 2009 guidance, saying that they are not experiencing the 10%-30% shortfall on DVD sales that some other studios are complaining about.

Marvel reported its results before the opening bell, and its shares soared 15% to $27.55 Tuesday.

"Our fourth-quarter and full-year results reflect the benefits derived from our strategy to produce our own feature films," Handel said.

"Iron Man" and "Hulk" were the first two self-produced films for Marvel, and next year it will follow with a couple more: "Thor" and a sequel to "Iron Man."