The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday released its first quarterly financial report since announcing a $52-billion deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox.

  • Disney reports boost in earnings in first quarter
  • Theme park and resorts division strongest for the company
  • Company also announced new "Star Wars" film series

Disney reported a net income of $4.42 billion, up 78 percent from the previous year.The company said the strong profits were boosted by a $1.6 billion tax benefit from the new federal income tax legislation. Revenue rose 3.8 percent to $15.4 billion.

Once again, the company’s theme park division proved to be the strongest division, generating $1.3 billion in operating income.

“Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was driven by guest spending growth and an increase in attendance, partially offset by higher costs,” Disney said in its quarterly earnings report.

At Walt Disney World, the company attributed growth to the success of Pandora – The World of Avatar, which opened last May.

Several projects are in the works at resort, including Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a Tron coaster at Magic Kingdom and a Guardians of the Galaxy coaster at Epcot. Toy Story Land is expected to open this summer, although an official opening date has not yet been announced.

Construction has also begun on Disney Skyliner, a new gondola transportation system.

Prior to releasing its earnings report, Disney announced that “Games of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would write and produce a new series of “Star Wars” films. Details about the new films are scare, however, they would be separate from the trilogy that “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson is developing.

In a conference call, CEO Bob Iger also discussed the company’s upcoming standalone streaming service, ESPN Plus. The service is set to launch this spring and will cost $4.99 per month.  It will feature coverage of Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and National Hockey League games, as well as college sports, tennis, golf, cricket and rugby.

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