"Frozen" powers Disney to blockbuster quarter

A scene from Disney's animated feature "Frozen."
AP Photo/Disney
The "Frozen" juggernaut just gave Disney (DIS) one of the best quarters in its history, and it shows no signs of slowing.

The princess movie, the highest-grossing animated movie ever, has now racked up sales of $1.2 billion, with about $770 million of the revenue from international audiences. It also has become the best-selling Blu-ray and digital download in history.

The film helped propel Disney's quarterly profit to $1.11 a share, excluding one-time items. Analysts expected 96 cents a share. The profit was the highest ever for Disney, which now "Frozen" to be one of the top five franchises in its history, up there with "Toy Story" and Winnie the Pooh.

Other parts of Disney's business are also doing well. Spending at theme parks is rising, ESPN and other broadcast networks are seeing solid profit growth, and even merchandise from Mickey Mouse and "Planes" sold particularly well.

Here's a breakdown of how Disney's major business lines did in the company's latest quarter:

Media networks: Operating income for the company's cable networks and broadcast division rose 15 percent, largely due to more revenue and lower costs at ESPN.

Parks and resorts: Operating income rose 19 percent. Attendance at Disneyland is on the rise and people at Walt Disney World are spending more. Ticket prices have gone up, and spending on food, drinks and merchandise increased. Disney's Shanghai theme park is set to open in December 2015.

Studio entertainment: "Frozen" pushed revenue for this segment up 35 percent to $1.8 billion, and operating income rose to $475 million from $118 million.

Consumer products: This business, which includes merchandise and retail sales, saw operating income rise 37 percent. But "Frozen" merchandise wasn't the driver here; instead, the Disney Channel, Mickey mouse and "Planes" items helped move the needle.

Interactive: Sales of the "Disney Infinity" video game helped push revenue up 38 percent for the division.

Disney shares rose about half a percentage point in after-hours trading after the financial results were disclosed on Tuesday. Traders largely knew that "Frozen" would usher in a blockbuster quarter from the company. The stock closed the day at 81.03, near the company's all-time high of $83.65.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.