Aided by strong performance from sports network ESPN and animated hit film Frozen, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) reported higher profit for the quarter ended December.

The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s net income for the three months ended December 28 shot up by 33% to $1.8 billion beating analysts’ estimates.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the Burbank, California-based company to report a net profit of $1.63 billion or 91 cents a share for the quarter ending December 31.

Box office hits propelled earnings

The Walt Disney Company’s earnings surged thanks to box office smashes Frozen and Thor: The Dark World and the juggernaut that is ESPN. The entertainment company eclipsed Wall Street expectations in every key rubric. The media giant’s diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of its fiscal year increased 32% to $1.04 from 79 cents in the prior-year quarter, while its revenues climbed 9% to $12.3 billion from $11.3 billion in the year-ago period.

Frozen raked in massive moolah

The animated musical Frozen reported blockbuster success by grossing over $870 million worldwide and is headed to Broadway. The success helped drive a 75% increase in operating income for the media giant’s movie division during the first fiscal quarter ended December 28.

Disney’s revenue, in total, increased 9% during the quarter to $12.3 billion, with net income up 33% to $1.84 billion, or $1.03 per share. The film studio posted $409 million in operating income on $1.89 billion revenue, with the latter up 23% compared with the same quarter a year ago. The growth was largely due to the stronger box office performance of Frozen versus Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s animated movie released in November 2012, as well as superhero sequel Thor: The Dark Word, which has grossed $635 million.

All units clocked growth

The media networks unit, which includes ESPN, reported $1.5 billion in operating income for the quarter, a 20 percent gain from a year earlier. At Disney’s theme parks, higher guest spending in the United States helped the unit’s profit rise by 16 percent to $671 million.

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s interactive gaming unit posted a $55 million profit, boosted by sales of its ambitious new video game Disney Infinity.

In December, enthused by strong performance, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) raised its annual dividend by 15% (or 11 cents) to 86 cents from 75 cents a share. For the third consecutive year, the company reported record sales, earnings per share and net income.