First quarter revs are down 3.4% at Marvel Entertainment thanks to lower-than-expected merch and publishing sales, but the company is betting on the box office strength of just-release Iron Man and the upcoming The Incredible Hulk to push its ’08 tally past US$400 million.
The slight earnings downturn is due to a decline in net sales from the Spider-Man Merchandising joint-venture with Sony and a decrease in toy royalties from Hasbro to US$8.3 million, compared to US$20.8 million in Q1 2007. Overall net sales from Spider-Man JV declined to US$29.7 million in Q1 this year, compared to US$56.9 million for the same period in 2007.
Marvel’s Publishing Segment net sales declined by US$1.0 million or 4% to US$26.5 million. Meanwhile, Marvel’s Film Production segment operating losses came in at US$2.0 million for Q1 2008, compared to US$3.0 million in Q1 2007, reflecting overhead costs that were capitalized into Marvel’s self-produced films in Q1 2008. Not to worry, though, Iron Man brought in boffo box office receipts over the past weekend, grossing more than US$100 million in the US alone.
And the company is going full-steam ahead with its just-announced 2010 film slate. Iron Man 2 will lead off on April 30, 2010, followed by the launch of Thor on June 4, 2010. Additionally, Marvel is planting its feature film stakes for summer 2011 with an Avengers-themed summer – a two-picture project which will debut on May 6, 2011 with The First Avenger: Captain America (working title), followed by The Avengers in July 2011.