Marvel reported Tuesday and beat estimates with its Q2 performance, raising the low end of its guidance for the year.  Marvel generated sales of $116.3 million in Q2, and earnings per share of $.37, beating estimates by $.06. 


Revenues were higher than expected in licensing, where worldwide minimum royalty payments were up.  But over-all revenues were down in that segment, because last year’s Q2 had Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, and some leftover Spider-Man 3 merchandise revenues in it, with little to balance those factors this year. 


Sales were flat in the publishing segment at $31.7 million for the quarter, vs. $31.8 million in Q2 2008.  Marvel’s publishing margins declined due to lower advertising and custom publishing sales, which it attributed to the over-all ad market. 


Marvel raised the low end of its sales and profit estimates, which went to $465-$485 million and $95-$105 million, respectively, from $450-$485 million and $86-$105 million.  The company cut the high end of sales for its publishing segment guidance, which went form $115-$125 million for the year (see “Iron Man Stocks Marvel’s Coffers”) to $115-$120 million.  Marvel expects to lose $5 million on its digital publishing initiatives in 2009.


Marvel completed production on Iron Man 2 during the quarter, yet had no debt on its film production facility; it financed the production of the film with revenues from Iron Man and Incredible Hulk last year.