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Lions Gate revenue shrinks, profit rises with just 1 film release

August 10, 2011|By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

With only one new movie hitting theaters and none on DVD, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. saw its revenue and expenses plummet in the quarter that ended June 30.

The Santa Monica film and television studio reported revenue of $261.3 million in its first quarter, down 20% from a year earlier. But because of a sharp drop in costs, the studio had a profit of $12.2 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $64.1 million a year earlier.

Wall Street appeared to have missed how light Lions Gate's release slate would be during the quarter. The company easily beat analysts' consensus estimate that it would lose seven cents per share, instead earning a profit of nine cents. However, its revenue was 18% below what analysts predicted.

Lions Gate's only theatrical release from April through June, the Tyler Perry film "Madea's Big Happy Family," was a modest box-office performer. Its $53.3-million domestic gross was the lowest of any of Perry's movies featuring Madea, save for the 2005 original, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

Because of the light slate, Lions Gate's motion picture revenue dropped 29% for the quarter to $192.6 million. The studio has several upcoming high-profile releases, including next week's "Conan the Barbarian," September's Taylor Lautner thriller "Abduction" and March's heavily hyped "Hunger Games," based on the first book in the bestselling trilogy.

Television production revenue increased 27% to $68.7 million in the quarter as the studio delivered new seasons of the successful comedies "Are We There Yet?" and "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and the Showtime drama "Weeds."

Administrative costs dropped 57% in the quarter. A year earlier the company spent millions of dollars on attorneys to fight dissident shareholder Carl Icahn and was contractually obliged to make increased stock-based payments to several senior executives when Icahn's stake surpassed 33%.

Icahn's public dispute with Lions Gate over the future of the company halted late last year.

Lions Gate stock closed Tuesday up 26 cents, or 4%, at $6.62, before its financial results were released.

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