Captain America Another Arrow in Disney's Marvel Quiver

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The top-grossing movie so far this year has been Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was produced by Disney's (DIS) Marvel Entertainment unit.

Captain America has grossed $257.8 million domestically. Two other top five movies for 2014 are also Marvel productions -- X-Men: Days of Future Past, No. 3 with $227.9 million in U.S. ticket sales, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, No. 5. with $200.9 million in U.S. gross.

Disney has profited handsomely from Marvel, which it bought in 2009 for $4.24 billion. Since that time, shares of Disney have almost tripled, compared with a 90% rise for the S&P 500 Index.

Shares of Disney were trading at $85.94, down 1%, late Tuesday morning. 

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Earnings for Disney have risen 85% during the period since the Marvel deal closed, and revenue has risen about 25%.

The question for investors is, can Marvel and Disney keep it up?

Shares of Disney are not cheap, trading at 22.4 times trailing earnings, compared with a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.5 for the S&P 500 Index.

More big movies would help. Scheduled for release next year are The Avengers: The Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.

Marvel may want to consider hiring Denzel Washington for a new Blade trilogy and also Robert Pattinson for at least four Morbius films.

The original Blade movie was released in 1998 with a budget of $40 million, and it reaped ticket sales of more than $130 million. Two more Blade movies followed.

Acquisitions could juice Disney's growth, too. One possible candidate is Discovery Communications (DISCA), a media company that owns the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and other channels.

Disney didn't immediately return an e-mail for comment.

At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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