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Disney Shows Signs Of Growing Pains Despite Box Office Success

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Today, The Walt Disney Company released its Q3 earnings for 2019 and as reported, earnings fell short of what analysts projected, stocks fell as much as 3.1% in after-hours trading and its theme parks have suffered a lack of attendance.

Earnings per share were reported as $1.35 versus $1.75 and revenue was $20.25 billion versus the $21.47 billion projected for the quarter. Disney CEO Robert Iger blamed the earnings miss on the $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, a deal that closed in March, and the ongoing integration of Fox’s entertainment assets to enhance and advance the company’s “strategic transformation.”

But the news wasn’t all bad. What Disney has on its side is a killer box office performance and a lot of buzz around its upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Despite this, the company is experiencing some growing pains.

Iger congratulated the studio arm for its powerful slate of blockbuster hits and for reaching an $8 billion global box office so far this year, which is a new industry record.

He was referring to the success of Avengers: Endgame ($2.8 billion), Captain Marvel ($1.1 billion), Aladdin ($1 billion), Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King ($1.2 billion) and Toy Story 4 ($960 million).

In addition, the upcoming films Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, due out in November and December respectively, are also expected to do very well. Disney is definitely on a winning streak at the box office.

The 2018 box office hit a high of $11.9 billion in North America and $41.7 billion worldwide. Disney took nearly one-fifth (20%) of that figure with $7.33 billion globally, which made 2018 the second-largest year for a studio in the industry’s history, behind only Disney’s own 2016 record of $7.61 billion. Over 25% of U.S. moviegoing dollars went to Disney last year, despite the company only releasing 14 films throughout the year.

“Disney is a powerhouse that holds nearly 40% of the theatrical marketshare,” says Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, Paul Dergarabedian. “Disney titles, including holdovers from last year, account for 38% of the total box office in North America year-to-date.”

Next in line is Universal with 14% and Warner Bros. with 13%. Can Disney top 40% in 2020? “There’s no question it can go even higher,” says Dergarabedian, adding that next year will include the ninth episode in the Star Wars franchise.

The success of its movies lifted Disney against dismal TV results and added to the excitement of Disney+, its streaming service set to launch November 12. More details about the upcoming service are expected later this month at the D23 Expo fan convention in Anaheim, California.

Disney’s cable networks saw revenues this quarter increase 24% to $4.5 billion, but the company reported higher operating income due to the consolidation of the FX and National Geographic networks and an increase at ESPN, partially offset by a decrease at Freeform.

Media Networks revenues for the quarter increased 21% to $6.7 billion. Its investment in Hulu was explained as the reason for the company’s streaming losses. Disney acquired Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu in May, bringing its ownership to 60% and it has plans to acquire Comcast’s one-third stake in the company.

Iger said on the earnings call that Disney will offer U.S. consumers a bundle of its highly-anticipated Disney+, ESPN+ and an ad-supported Hulu subscription for $12.99 per month, a match to Netflix’s standard subscription plan.

Disney’s theme parks are also very lucrative for the company and yet, this quarter the company reported a decrease in attendance at its domestic parks and resorts.

Disneyland Anaheim opened its Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge attraction on May 31 with widespread reports revealing it has been “surprisingly empty.” This is thought to be due to guests waiting for anticipated crowds to die down, in addition to its main attraction, Rise of the Resistance, not opening until January 2020. Another Galaxy’s Edge land of similar size is scheduled to open on August 29 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Disney explained the decrease in attendance was partially due to higher hotel costs, higher average ticket prices and increased food, beverage and merchandise spending.

Despite its struggles with earnings and a lack of attendance at its theme parks, Disney is still considered a behemoth.

“The market is focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to Disney. In 2020, we will be calling it the ‘Disney dent,’ which will be the dent Disney will make in Netflix’s earnings,” says Chief Attribution Officer at C3 Metrics, Jeff Greenfield. “Over the last year, Disney has transformed itself into the largest entertainment company in the world. Bravo Disney!”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danafeldman/2019/08/06/disney-falls-short-on-wall-street-expectations-attributes-fox-merger/#216f00f56167

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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