The Walt Disney Company says net income in the first three months of the year grew 21 per cent as better performance from pay TV network ESPN and its theme parks offset a loss at the movie studio.

Net income in the three months to March 31 rose to $US1.14 billion ($A1.12 billion), or 63 cents a share, from $942 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago.

Earnings came to 58 cents a share after excluding one-time items, including a $184 million non-cash gain related to Disney acquiring a controlling stake in Indian media company UTV. That topped the 55 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose six per cent to $9.63 billion from $9.08 billion. That also beat the $9.57 billion expected.

Disney's stock rose 80 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $45.10 in after-hours trading after the release of fiscal second-quarter results.

Disney's movie studio had a loss of $84 million, which was on the low end of the $80 million to $120 million range that the company forecast based on the box office performance of the movie John Carter. Revenue fell 12 per cent to $1.2 billion.

Gains elsewhere undid the damage.

CEO Bob Iger said in a statement the California-based company was "incredibly optimistic about our future."

He said The Avengers, the latest movie from Disney subsidiary Marvel, had surpassed $702 million in ticket sales since its release abroad on April 25. It opened in the US on Friday.

Revenue from pay TV operations including ESPN and Disney Channel rose 12 per cent to $3.2 billion as fees from distributors and advertising sales grew.

Parks and resorts revenue grew 10 per cent to $2.9 billion as attendance and spending grew in the US Gains at overseas parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong were partially offset by a decrease in Paris.

Consumer products revenue rose eight per cent. Its interactive media division saw revenue rise 13 per cent while trimming its losses.

The West Australian

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