Lionsgate projects profitable 2010

Studio says 2009 losses will be offset by Q4 releases

TORONTO -- Despite posting a widened full-year loss for fiscal 2009 on Monday, Lionsgate said it will roar back into the black this year on record overall revenue.

The mini-major projected fiscal 2010 revenue of just more than $1.5 billion and a swing in adjusted EBITDA from -$133.6 million in 2009 to $75 million at the end of the current year.

"Our core businesses are off to a strong start this year," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts Tuesday as he looked beyond the second- and third-quarter theatrical disappointments that led to a loss of $163 million for fiscal 2009, which compared with a $74 million loss in 2008.

The studio pointed to upside strength from fourth-quarter 2009 releases including Tyler Perry's "Madea Goes to Jail" and "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" that add momentum to the current year.

As its co-financing agreement with Pride Pictures is terminated, Lionsgate will reduce its theatrical-release slate in 2010 to about a dozen titles. Mandate Pictures is forecast to contribute $14.5 million before overhead.

However, the studio said it will return to a more normalized year in 2011, when it plans to release about 14 titles theatrically, including Perry's "Why Did I Get Married 2," "Expendables" and upcoming titles from Relativity Media. Lionsgate anticipates about $100 million in overall profitability from its 2011 slate.

Lionsgate forecast that its TV group will generate about $300 million in revenue. That follows a miss on the fiscal 2009 expectations as revenue rose 6% to $222 million. Lionsgate said timing issues will shift revenue to the current year.

Debmar Mercury titles are expected to contribute another $15 million to the TV side, and the newly acquired TV Guide Network will contribute $20 million-$25 million.
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