Lionsgate Swings to Q1 Profit


The indie studio posts a $12.2 million first quarter profit on reduced theatrical marketing costs.

TORONTO -- Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. on Tuesday swung to a first quarter profit of $12.2 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $64.1 million, or 54 cents per share.

The producer of the Saw movie franchise and the Mad Men TV drama saw revenue fall during the quarter to $261.2 million, compared to a year-ago $326.6 million.

Vancouver-based Lionsgate put its Q1 2012 profit down to reduced theatrical marketing costs, higher gains from the studio’s TV business and lower legal defense costs following the successful end of a proxy battle with activist shareholder Carl Icahn.

Lionsgate also reported higher equity interest income from its share in Epix, which posted a profit of $4.8 million during the first quarter, against a loss of $12 million during Q1 2011.

The indie studio said overall revenue fell $65 million year-on-year due to the timing of its theatrical and home entertainment release slates.

Lionsgate had only one theatrical wide release in the quarter, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, compared to three theatrical wide releases in the prior year's first quarter, Kick Ass, Killers and Why Did I Get Married Too?

That led Lionsgate’s overall motion picture revenue to be down 29 per cent to $192.6 million, with theatrical revenue off 62 per cent at $27.1 million.

Lionsgate's home entertainment revenue from motion pictures and TV fell 32 per cent to $92.9 million, on no new major theatrical titles released on DVD and digital in the quarter.

And TV revenue in the motion picture segment was $43.3 million, up fourfold from Q1 2011 as four wide release theatrical titles were licensed to pay TV in the quarter, against no wide release theatrical titles licensed a year-ago.

Elsewhere, TV production revenue was $68.7 million, up 27 per cent from Q1 2011.

Lionsgate’s saw higher revenue from deliveries of the TV series Are We There Yet?, Tyler Perry's House of Payne, The Wendy Williams Show and the syndicated sixth and seventh seasons of Weeds.

International TV revenue rose 61 per cent to $12.6 million, led by deliveries of the second season of Blue Mountain State, seasons five and six of Weeds, the fourth season of Mad Men and Paris Hilton's My New BFF: Dubai.

"Our strong performance in the quarter reflected significant contributions from our television business and our share of the Epix channel as well as decreased costs in several areas," Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer said Tuesday in a statement.

Senior Lionsgate executives will discuss their latest financial results with analysts on Wednesday morning.