Licensing fuels earnings increase

“Spider-Man 3″ is already paying off for Marvel.

First payment from the comicbook publisher and licensor’s joint venture with Sony for licensing related to the webslinger generated $56.9 million in revenue last quarter. That helped boost overall company revenue by 68% to $151.4 million.

Net income was up 168% to $46.8 million.

Increases were due almost entirely to the “Spider-Man 3″ payment. While licensing revenue more than doubled to $98.9 million, publishing rose only slightly to $27.5 million, and toy sales were down slightly at $25 million.

Company also reiterated guidance, calling for revenue to grow from $352 million last year to between $375 million and $435 million this year. Net income is expected to more than double from $59 million to between $111 million and $132 million.

Marvel has at least $70 million more coming from the licensing joint venture, with potentially even more if “Spider-Man” licensing is as big as the movie’s record-breaking grosses have been thus far.

Company also is counting on strong growth in its interactive licensing revenue from several videogame deals it has recently signed. Sega has licensed rights to make games based on Marvel’s upcoming internally produced films, including “Iron Man,” “Incredible Hulk,” “Thor” and “Captain America.”

Marvel stock closed down 1% at $29.40 after earnings were announced Tuesday.

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