Home video boosts Lionsgate revenue

Reports profit of $7.1 mil for the first quarter

TORONTO -- Home entertainment paved the way to a first-quarter profit for Lionsgate, which touted lower theatrical distribution and marketing costs and across-the-board revenue gains Friday.

Vancouver-based Lionsgate posted a profit of $7.1 million for the three months ending June 30 -- compared with a loss of $53 million a year earlier -- on revenue of $298.4 million, up sharply from a year-earlier $198.7 million.

Motion picture revenue stood at $257.4 million, up 51.1% from $170.3 million in 2007. Theatrical revenue rose 61% to $30.5 million, backed by a slate that includes "The Forbidden Kingdom," "Meet the Browns" and "The Bank Job."

But the big earner in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 was home entertainment, which saw revenue jump 47% to $152.2 million on the strength of DVD titles including "Rambo," "The Eye" and "Witless Protection."

Television revenue in the motion picture segment rose 29% to $28.9 million, and international revenue was up 51% to $34.3 million as "Saw 4" and "The Eye" performed well overseas.

September 2007 acquisition Mandate Pictures, meanwhile, contributed revenue of $8.5 million from titles like "30 Days of Night" and "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay."

Television production revenue, driven by series like "Weeds," "Mad Men" and "Fear Itself," rose 45% to $41.1 million.

Ahead of a Monday morning analyst call, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer forecast continued double-digit revenue growth in fiscal 2009.

"Our robust operations, coupled with the recent close of our $340 million five-year revolving credit facility with JP Morgan and our strong balance sheet, positions us to continue growing our business despite the current difficult market environment," Feltheimer said. "As a result, we expect to continue our double-digit revenue growth this year, with a view toward generating significant positive EBITDA and continued double-digit revenue growth in fiscal 2010."