Movie division helps boost revenue

Marvel Entertainment’s movie division continues to pay off handsomely for the comicbook company.

“Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk,” the company’s first two self-financed pics, generated $90.4 million for Marvel during the first quarter, primarily from DVD sales.

Overall, revenue rose an impressive 75% to $197 million, which helped put $44.5 million in profit into Marvel’s coffers. That’s down slightly from $45.2 million a year ago.

Earnings from licensing dropped 4% to nearly $81 million but still repped a bright spot for the company. Analysts had expected Marvel to take an even bigger hit from merchandise sales as consumers cut back on spending. Marvel will focus on growing its licensing biz overseas as it releases more films based on its superheroes.

Marvel expects its film division to contribute up to $145 million to its bottom line this year. The company anticipates licensing will deliver as much as $215 million.

Marvel is currently lensing “Iron Man 2,” set to bow next summer. It will follow that up with “Thor” and “The First Avenger: Captain America” in 2011 and “The Avengers” in 2012.

The news sent shares of the company up 6.2% on Tuesday to close at $33.02.

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