Updated from 5:06 p.m.
first-quarter earnings soundly beating expectations, fueled by strong DVD sales for its latest hit,
The Emeryville, Calif., animation studio run by
founder Steve Jobs posted first-quarter earnings of $81.9 million, or 67 cents per share, up from the year-ago profit of $26.7 million, or 23 cents a share. Revenue at the maker of
surged to $161.2 million from $53.8 million a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of 47 cents per share on $116 million in revenue. Shares of Pixar rose 6% in postclose action.
"We're off to a terrific start with
shaping up to be the best-selling DVD of 2005," said Jobs. "
is looking great, and we're also very excited about the 10-year anniversary re-release of
on DVD this fall."
Pixar's next release,
isn't due to hit theaters until June of 2006.
now ranks as the second highest-grossing Pixar film after
In second quarter, the company will look forward to international revenue from
as it is released in France, Germany and Japan on DVD. In the third quarter, domestic pay TV revenue should start flowing from
. In the fourth quarter, Pixar expects to reap the benefits of the U.S. TV premiere of
Jobs said the company is "on track to finish
this October" and that two-thirds of the animation finished. He called it the most detailed computer-generated animated film ever made.
The other key topic of conversation is a new studio partner for Pixar, which owns its films jointly with
, its current distributor. Pixar and Disney have enjoyed a somewhat rocky history and their distribution arrangment is coming to an end.
"I've had nice conversations with
Disney head Robert Iger, though we're not in negotiations," said Jobs, who later in the call indicated that the company would be negotiating "with studios in coming months." He expects to strike a new distribution deal by the end of the year. Jobs was a vociferous critic of Disney's lame duck chief, Michael Eisner, whose tenure is due to end in September.
Pixar said it is on track to produce one film per year starting in 2006 on a summer release schedule.
In after-market trading Thursday, Pixar shares rose $2.78 to $49.05.