Without ‘Iron Man,’ Marvel’s Profit Plunges

Company reports 60% year-to-year slide in third quarter.

Last Updated: November 3, 2009 @ 7:31 PM

Marvel Entertainment, which is in the process of being acquired by Disney in a $4 billion deal, said on Tuesday that profits fell 60 percent during the third quarter – the result of a sharp decline in film and licensing revenue.

Marvel’s third-quarter earnings were $20.4 million, compared with $50.6 million during the same period in 2008. The company reported a $65 million slide in film revenues related to last year’s “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Nonetheless, the company said it still expects the Disney deal to close by year’s end. In August, Disney agreed to buy Marvel in a cash and stock deal worth $4 billion.

"Despite the absence of any Marvel Studios feature film releases in 2009, Marvel continued to deliver solid operating performance across all our operating segments,” Marvel chairman Morton Handel said in a statement. 

Handel noted that the company is betting big on “Iron Man 2,” the sequel to the Robert Downey Jr. box office smash.

“We are focusing our efforts on the film`s May 2010 release and the related licensing opportunities,” Handel said.

Marvel also has “Thor,” “The First Avenger: Captain America” and “The Avengers” in its feature film pipeline.