Pix, DVDs buoy Lionsgate

Studio earnings surge 94% to $39 mil

Hollywood mini-studio Lionsgateon Wednesday posted an upbeat fourth quarter after a tough fiscal year in which profits plunged to $6 million from $20 million.

For the three months ended in March, Lionsgate earnings surged 94% to $39 million. Revenue jumped 35% to $313 million.

“Hostel” in theaters and “Saw II” and “Crash” on video buoyed the numbers, which were robust across the board: theatrical, home entertainment, international and television production. The studio will have nine series on the air next season — eight on cable, one on broadcast.

Lionsgate shares closed down 3.35% to $8.66 on investor jitters at the state of the video market and short sellers betting the company would miss its numbers. The stock was up a dime, or 1.15%, in after-hours trading on the quarterly report released after the market closed.

Lionsgate execs will hold a conference call today to discuss the quarter in detail and update Wall Street on the current year. Horror pic “The Descent” hits in August.

For the quarter: Theatrical revenue grew 85% to $54 million, homevid was up 39% to $194 million, international surged 118% to $29 million and TV was up 40% to $18.3 million.

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