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Hollywood helped Hasbro post blockbuster results during the critical holiday shopping period

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PAWTUCKET, Rhode Island — Hollywood gets the top billing in Hasbro's star performance over the critical holiday season.

"Star Wars," ''Jurassic World" and Marvel blockbusters drove sales of related toys, helping to push revenue in the boys category up 35 percent compared with last year during the same period.

Hasbro's total revenue rose more than 3 percent from the year before, accelerating the revenue gains that the company booked last year.

The final quarter of the year, the most important for retailers, was a big one for Hasbro and its rival, Mattel Inc., which reported revived sales of Barbie.

The two companies have been tinkering with their toys to appeal to a generation of kids who grew up tapping tablets. Hasbro, for example, launched a more powerful line of Nerf guns for youngsters above 14. And Mattel has made Barbie more diverse, selling the iconic plastic doll in different skin tones, hair colors and face shapes. Last month, Mattel said it will start selling Barbie dolls in three new body types — curvy, tall and petite, in a move to appeal to moms and kids turned off by the doll's small waist and long legs.

Hasbro still had a tough time winning over girls. Sales in that category fell 17 percent in the quarter.

However, the company will soon have Anna and Elsa and some of their friends on its side.

Though Hasbro wrested rights for the characters from "Frozen" away from Mattel in September 2014, initial shipments were just beginning in the fourth quarter.

The company expects the bulk of those shipments to roll out this quarter. That includes dolls from Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, with affiliated clothing and accessories as well.

For the fourth quarter, Hasbro reported net income of $175.8 million, or $1.39 per share, up from $170 million, or $1.34 per share, in the same quarter a year before.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.30 per share.

The Pawtucket, Rhode Island, company reported revenue of $1.47 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.36 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $451.8 million, or $3.57 per share. Revenue was reported as $4.45 billion.

Shares of Hasbro Inc. rose $1.07, or 1.4 percent, to $75.17.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on HAS at http://www.zacks.com/ap/HAS

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Keywords: Hasbro, Earnings Report

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