Lionsgate roars with broad revenue gains

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Movies paved the way to a first-quarter profit for Lionsgate, which touted lower theatrical distribution and marketing costs and double-digit revenue gains across the board.

Vancouver-based Lionsgate on Friday posted a profit of $7.1 million for the three months ending June 30 — compared with a loss of $53 million a year ago — 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 included "The Forbidden Kingdom," "Meet the Browns" and "The Bank Job."

A big earner in the first quarter of 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 IV" and "The Eye" performed well overseas.

The September acquisition of Mandate Pictures, meanwhile, contributed revenue of $8.5 million from such titles as "30 Days of Night" and "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay."

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

Ahead of an analyst call this morning, 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 JPMorgan and our strong balance sheet, positions us to continue growing our business despite the current difficult market environment," he said. (partialdiff)