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Yesterday Disney reported quarterly earnings that increased 32 percent to a record $2.9 billion. Much of the success is credited to its Star Wars franchise, but its theme parks performed well, too, with operating profit of $981 million, up 22 percent.
The concern is that these profits came from parks in the United States, with France and Hong Kong underperforming. Disney will open a park in Shanghai in June. Last week it announced that admission would be priced lower than expected.
Disney CEO Bob Iger appeared on CNBC yesterday afternoon and answered questions about the theme park division.
“We’ve never looked at a given time to dictate the nature of our investments because we’ve always been in it for the long term,” Iger said. “That’s how this company was built by Walt.”
Iger responded to questions about unrest in Hong Kong and spending concerns in Shanghai with a focus on the long-term. “When we look at Hong Kong or China we’re certainly mindful of what’s going on. But the parks that we’ve built there, the park in Hong Kong, the park in Shanghai that opens in June, they’re not built for 2016 they’re built for the decades to come. We’re very bullish on China,” Iger said.
“It’s big, it’s bold, it’s exciting, it’s locally relevant.”
Talk about the U.S. parks was more upbeat and spoke to the strength of its position. “What we’re seeing with our domestic parks is a pretty good marketplace,” Iger said. “We’ve managed to increase pricing we’ve seen increased spending and we’ve seen increased attendance. We expect that to continue.”
“We feel great about that business and that environment.”