Lionsgate Narrows Third Quarter Loss


TORONTO — Fresh from swallowing privately held Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Entertainment on Thursday narrowed its third-quarter loss to $1.7 million against year-earlier red ink of $6 million.

Still, revenue fell sharply to $323 million during the quarter, compared with $422 million in 2010, as Lionsgate had no wide theatrical releases (it had three wide releases in the quarter last year – Saw 3D, For Colored Girls and The Next Three Days).

The home entertainment division also had The Expendables on its books in the prior-year third quarter.

During the latest frame, overall motion picture revenue tumbled 29 percent to $233.3 million.

No wide releases meant theatrical revenue in the motion picture segment was a modest $8.4 million, compared with $53.8 million in Q3 2010.

Lionsgate on Jan. 13 completed a $412 million leveraged buyout deal for Summit that brings the Twilight movie franchise and a potential Hunger Games franchise into the same company. The first Hunger Games film, like the Twilight property based on a successful book series, will be released March 23.

Looking beyond the latest quarter and ahead to an analyst call Friday, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer on Thursday talked up the benefits of the Summit takeover.

“The Feb. 11 home entertainment release of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1, the March 23 theatrical release of Hunger Games and the Nov. 16 theatrical release of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 lead a strong combined slate that we believe will enable us to deliver increased consistency, profitability and value to our shareholders,” Feltheimer said in a statement.

Lionsgate's home entertainment revenue from both motion pictures and TV was also down during the latest frame to $162.9 million.

TV production revenue fell 7 percent to $89.7 million on fewer episodes delivered, while third-quarter digital and on-demand revenue stood out by rising 80% to $62.4 million.

Stock in Lionsgate, which these days reflects a bet on the Summit takeover and the Hunger Games release, closed trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange at $11.01, near a 52-week high of $11.32.

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