Disney To Take A Big Write-off On Lone Ranger

The Walt Disney Co. is preparing to bite the (silver) bullet to the tune of $160-190 million on the failure of its summer tentpole The Lone Ranger. In a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said that the actual figure will be recorded at the end of the current quarter. The loss has raised questions about Disney chief Robert Iger's strategy of focusing on big-budget tentpole films and virtually eliminating smaller productions. And during the call, Iger, although acknowledging that the failure of The Lone Ranger underlined the risk of producing such films, nevertheless maintained that one way to rise above the din and the competition is with a big film, not just big budget, but big story, big cast, big marketing behind it. Iger made his remarks following Disney's quarterly SEC filing, which showed earnings virtually unchanged from the year-ago quarter but revenue up about 4 percent, mostly as a result of higher earnings from its theme parks and its cable networks, especially ESPN. (However its broadcasting unit -- principally ABC-TV -- posted a 20-percent drop due to higher programming costs and decreased ad revenue.) Iger insisted that he was happy with the results.



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