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Sluggish Behaviour

Distrib's earnings tiny despite MDP purchase

MONTREAL — Canadian producer and distributor Behaviour Communications reported its first financial results since acquiring MDP Worldwide. The new Behaviour division, now re-named Behaviour Worldwide, helped boost the company’s revenue for the third quarter. But Behaviour’s net earnings continued to sag in the quarter, with earnings of C$546,843 ($360,000) or 1¢ per share, compared with a net loss of $11.2 million or $1.06 per share a year earlier.

Behaviour (formerly Malofilm) posted major losses throughout much of last year and it has yet to report significant earnings since a group led by Behaviour chairman Richard Szalwinski bought the company from founder Rene Malo two years ago.

TotalNet boost

Behaviour would have reported a net loss for the third quarter if it weren’t for the $1.2 million one-time gain from the sale of its shares in the internet company TotalNet. Revenue for the three-months ended June 30 were up 34% to $22 million, compared with $17 million for the same period last year.

The $5.6 million rise in revenue was primarily due to the filmed entertainment division, which had an increase in revenues of $4.3 million. That increase was mainly due to the pic “Free Money,” the Filmline production starring Marlon Brando, Donald Sutherland, and Charlie Sheen, which was delivered within the quarter. “Free Money,” which has still not been sold in the U.S., will be released by Behaviour across Canada later this fall.

Revenues from Behaviour Worldwide, which was integrated on March 26, were $3.2 million.

The company also announced that Behaviour Worldwide CEO Mark Damon has been appointed to the Behaviour board, and Behaviour president and CEO Bernard Legendre has been named vice-chairman of the board.

Slate revealed

Behaviour Worldwide also announced several upcoming feature projects on Friday, including the $25 million thriller “The Body,” the $25 million romantic comedy “Red Lips, White Lies” and the $5 million drama “Things Behind the Sun” co-written and directed by Allison Anders (“Grace of My Heart”).

Behaviour Worldwide has also inked a four-pic joint venture with Diamant/Cohen, which will include the $60 million noir crime thriller “Black Dahlia,” based on the novel by “L.A. Confidential” author James Ellroy and to be directed by David Fincher. The next Behaviour pic to shoot will be “Grizzly Falls,” a Canadian-U.K. co-production to be directed by Stewart Raffill and produced by former Norstar Entertainment topper Peter Simpson. Also on the Behaviour slate is “Love and Sex,” a low-budget romantic comedy from helmer Valerie Breiman.

TV production

Filmline, a wholly owned Behaviour subsidiary, is presently shooting in Montreal the TV series, “The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne.” A Canadian-U.K. co-production, “Jules Verne” is an ambitious, effects-laden, 22-episode series with a budget of $32 million.

The main drag on revenues and earnings continues to be the distribution sector. Canadian distribution revenues dropped by $3 million due to a decline in video sales and because the company had little money last year to make acquisitions.

Recent Canadian Behaviour releases include “The Spanish Prisoner,” “The Chinese Box,” and “The Governess.” Upcoming fall releases include Paul Auster’s Cannes title “Lulu on the Bridge” and “Strangeland” toplining Dee Snider.

Behaviour’s New Media division recently inked a deal with European multimedia company Infogrames to develop a Bugs Bunny game based on the Warner Bros. character.

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