On the eve of the release of one of the Walt Disney Co.'s most anticipated films, the company's chief financial officer painted a rosy picture on Thursday of where the company is headed with film and television content and opening of new overseas markets.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse First Boston 2005 Global Media Week conference in New York, Tom Staggs pointed to "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" -- released on Friday -- as the type of film franchise the Burbank-based entertainment company will focus on that can generate additional products.
"The good news is the creative community gets the strength of the Disney brand and is showing a lot of interest in those projects," Staggs said. "Our goal is to make sure the studio is a vibrant creative engine and operates on a basis that the returns make sense."
Staggs made his comments just several weeks after Disney released its fourth quarter and year-end financial earnings. The Disney studio took a $313-million hit in operating income for the fourth quarter due to poor theatrical and video releases.
But Staggs, who is also Disney's senior executive vice president, pointed to the recent animated hit "Chicken Little" as a step in the right direction for the studio in general and its animation content in particular.
Animation remains a "core property" for the company and the source of equity for the theme parks and consumer products, Staggs said.
"We have the nucleus around -- which we are well-positioned to continue to attract the right talent and attract the right films," Staggs said.