Lions Gate stox up

Mini-major boosts profile with Toronto 300 berth

VANCOUVER — Producer-distributor Lions Gate Entertainment is joining Alliance Atlantis Communications and Corus Entertainment on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s elite 300 Composite Index.

The Index is revised annually to include the leading publicly traded companies in Canada; inclusion opens the door for large Canadian institutions such as pension plans to invest.

Move, effective at the close of the market Friday, follows Lions Gate’s acquisition of Trimark Holdings last October.

“The TSE 300 enhances our business plan to become one of the preeminent mini-major entertainment companies in the industry,” said CEO Jon Feltheimer. “Institutional sponsorship will be a critical component in the implementation of our corporate strategy.”

Profit streak

The fast-moving Vancouver-based firm’s results for the third quarter ended Dec. 31 showed revenue of C$68.7 million ($44.6 million). It was the third straight quarter of overall profitability.

Without the losses incurred through its 45% equity interest in Mandalay Pictures, the profitability run would have extended to six consecutive quarters.

Upcoming Mandalay releases include “Enemy at the Gates,” starring Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes, on Friday, and “The Score,” starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando and Angela Bassett, in June.

On Oscar’s radar

Lions Gate, one of the few unaligned independents to score multiple Oscar noms this year, is up for foreign-language film for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Mexican production “Amores Perros,” which opens in New York on March 30 and in wider release on April 13; “Shadow of the Vampire” (Willem Dafoe, supporting actor); and Ann Buchanan and Amber Sibley (achievement in makeup).

Lions Gate’s studios in North Vancouver — like all studios here, busy with Hollywood service work in anticipation of strikes — is fully booked, and the firm is benefiting from a shift to higher-margin product, including sell-through video releases, and the production of TV series “Mysterious Ways.”

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