Updated from 4:49 p.m.
beat the earnings estimate it made analysts back at midquarter and offered guidance well above current expectations.
The computer-generated animation studio cited the "stellar" box office performance of
, released last November.
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1, Pixar reported earnings of $55.2 million, or 91 cents per share. That's down from the $1.44 per share Pixar earned in the fourth quarter of 2003, but ahead of the Thomson First Call expectation of 77 cents.
With Pixar's one-movie-a-year release schedule making quarterly results erratic, analysts had a wide range of quarterly estimates going into the release -- anywhere from 64 cents to $1.25 per share, according to Thomson.
The company earned $2.38 a share for the year, ahead of the company's Nov. 11 guidance range of $2.10 to $2.20 a share.
Fourth-quarter revenue amounted to $108.9 million, down from $164.8 million a year earlier but beating the consensus figure of $97 million.
Year-earlier results were boosted by the November 2003 home video release of
The company plans to release
on DVD March 15.
Looking ahead, the company forecast first-quarter 2005 EPS in the range of 85 cents to 95 cents. The eight-analyst estimate for the first quarter currently stands at 27 cents per share.
The company's next theatrical release,
, isn't expected to be released until the summer of 2006. It's slated to be the last original feature produced and distributed under Pixar's multiyear agreement with
(DIS - Get Report)
. Pixar hasn't revealed any agreement as to what studio might replace Disney as its distributor for future movies.
Shares in Pixar, up $1 to $89.88 in normal trading, gained another $1.95 after hours.