Mars Hurts Mouse’s Bottom Line

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As Disney prepares to make a big splash at the Cannes film festival with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the daily trades are reporting that the disappointing box-office performance of Mars Needs Moms has hurt the studio’s second quarter numbers.

Variety and The Los Angeles Times noted that although Disney earned $9 billion in the first three months of 2011 (up 6% from last year), the profits were off 1% to $942 million. Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of Berkely Breathed’s book took in only $37 million worldwide, despite costing at least $150 million to make. Disney wrote off the movie and closed ImageMovers Digital studio, which employed 450 staffers, in March. According to studio’s financial statement, the closure, along with the costs of the abandoned remake of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine ended up costing Disney an additional $96 million and another $80 million in restructuring charges and related costs.

On the bright side, Disney’s second-quarter financials were helped by overseas earnings for Tangled and Tron: Legacy and a 5% revenue increase in consumer products sales (profits were up 7% to $142 million). The summer months bode well for the studio as it opens the fourth Pirates movie, Pixar’s much-anticipated sequel Cars 2, the classically animated Winnie the Pooh and Marvel’s Thor and Captain America.

“We are pleased with the underlying quality of our second-quarter earnings,” said Disney president Robert Iger. “There is great creative momentum throughout the company which gives us continued confidence in our ability to grow our businesses.”