King Kong and Batman Lift Time Warner Above Expectations

May 3, 2017, 11:38 AM UTC

Time Warner, which is being bought by AT&T, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by the success of its movies Kong: Skull Island and The LEGO Batman Movie in the first quarter.

Revenue from Warner Bros, which includes the movie business and is the company’s biggest unit by revenue, rose 8.2% to $3.37 billion.

As of April 30, Kong: Skull Island had grossed more than $562 million globally, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

The LEGO Batman Movie grossed more than $308 million globally, as of April 30, according to Box Office Mojo.

Revenue from Home Box Office (HBO), known for its hugely popular show Game of Thrones, rose 4.1% to $1.57 billion. The latest season of Game of Thrones is set to premiere in July this year.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.66 per share, beating the average analysts’ estimate of $1.45 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Like other media companies, Time Warner (TWX) has also been struggling to keep its viewers hooked to its channels, at a time when most audience are flocking to online streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX) and’s Prime (AMZN).

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This has resulted in shorter TV seasons and hurt writers’ earnings, who are paid per episode. Hollywood writers and representatives of movie studios reached a tentative deal on Tuesday, averting a second strike in 10 years.

The company’s net income increased to $1.42 billion, or $1.80 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.21 billion, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $7.74 billion from $7.31 billion.

Time Warner said on Wednesday it was on track to close its merger with AT&T before the end of 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump has, during his election campaign, opposed the $85.4 billion deal.

Analysts on an average had expected revenue of $7.67 billion.