Earnings take a hit

Lions Gate Entertainment reported Monday a 183% surge in second-quarter revenues to $69 million, while profits hovered around just $100,000, due mainly to losses attributed to its stake in Mandalay Pictures. Nevertheless, Lions Gate execs were buoyed by the recent strong openings of “Sleepy Hollow” and “Dogma.”

Without its 45% ownership of Mandalay, which partnered with Paramount to release “Sleepy Hollow,” Lions Gate’s net earnings for the three months ended Sept. 30 would have been $1.5 million.

Lions Gate posted a net loss of $1.3 million for the period a year ago.

The noncash equity interest loss in Mandalay of $1.4 million comprises the noncash operating loss from July 1 to Sept. 30 of $889,000 and amortization of deferred preoperating costs for the quarter of $477,000.

On the film side, Vancouver-based Lions Gate generated a 138% boost in revenues to $33 million from “The Red Violin,” “The Dinner Game” and “Elvis Gratton.” Homevids “Gods and Monsters” and “Affliction” also performed well.

‘Sleepy’ energizes company profile

“It’s great that ‘Sleepy Hollow’ has done what it’s done,” said Lions Gate prexy Roman Doroniuk. “There’s been so much skepticism in the market about our investment in (Mandalay). They didn’t believe that Mandalay would produce results, so when you come out with a movie that performs that well, it looks good. For us, ‘Dogma’ is important because it shows the world that we’re really in the U.S. theatrical market and that we can open a film on over 1,000 screens.”

The delivery of TV pic “Final Run” to CBS helped boost overall television revenues to $19 million in the quarter, up from $1.6 million a year ago.

Lions Gate’s animation division saw revs of $16 million, a gain of 108%, while its studio division saw occupancy levels at its soundstages increase revs to $1.6 million, up from $100,000. The company operates seven soundstages, with the Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner “The Sixth Day” and Sylvester Stallone’s “Get Carter” currently occupying them.

(Brendan Kelly in Montreal contributed to this report.)

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