Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US) delayed the 2014 Pixar film “The Good Dinosaur” by 18 months, leaving the animation studio that produced “Toy Story” without an annual release for the first time since 2005.
“The Good Dinosaur,” about a 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus that befriends a boy, was pushed back to Nov. 25, 2015, from a scheduled release on May 30, 2014, for additional work. “Finding Dory,” a sequel to “Finding Nemo,” was delayed about seven months to June 17, 2016, Burbank, California-based Disney also said in a statement yesterday.
The delays add to recent turbulence in the film operation. This month, Disney pulled the fifth installment of Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” series from its schedule. That followed the August announcement that the company will lose as much as $190 million this quarter on “The Lone Ranger,” another Bruckheimer film.
Disney fell (DIS:US) 2.1 percent to $65.72 at the close in New York after Benjamin Swinburne, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, lowered his rating on the stock to the equivalent of a hold from buy.
The world’s largest entertainment company will rely more on the performance of its movies and consumer products, where profit is less predictable, compared with the past three years when 85 percent of earnings growth was driven by Disney’s cable TV channels and theme park division, Swinburne said in a note today.
Bob Peterson, the director of “The Good Dinosaur,” left the project last month, and it’s now being overseen by Pixar executives, Disney said.
The company decided to take more time with the picture, Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney’s animation studios, told the Los Angeles Times.
To fill a hole at the beginning of the summer 2014 movie season, Disney is rescheduling the live-action film “Maleficent,” featuring Angelina Jolie, for the weekend following Memorial Day next year.
“The most important thing is not to have any more big losses, like ‘John Carter’ and ‘The Lone Ranger,’” said Barton Crockett, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets who recommends buying Disney stock. The delay in “The Good Dinosaur” shows they are “taking the time to get the movie right.”
Disney shares have gained 32 percent this year, compared with 21 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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