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Lionsgate posts loss in 2nd quarter

Despite fall, revenue shot up 57%

Lionsgate posted a bigger loss in the second quarter than in the year-ago frame, but revenue shot up 57% on improved film performance, spurring the company’s stock.

Results were released after the markets closed Friday, but after-hours buying sent shares up more than 5%, on top of a solid day in which Lionsgate bucked the larger stock downturn to close up 15¢ to $10.52.

Net losses of $56.2 million grew substantially from $14.4 million in the year-ago quarter, but the company cited marketing costs of $122.5 million to open movies. Execs said the positive effects of the recent run of modest hits, including “War,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “Good Luck Chuck” would be reflected in future results. The streak brought to a close a forgettable first half of 2007 that drew scrutiny given the company’s dependence on film for more than two-thirds of its revenue.

“Saw IV” and “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” were both much bigger hits but came after the Sept. 30 close of the quarter.

Television production revenue was $109.1 million in the second quarter, nearly half that of the motion picture unit. The company is continuing to deliver episodes of “The Dead Zone” for USA, “Wildfire” for ABC Family, “Weeds” for Showtime,” “Mad Men” for AMC, among other shows. Its wholly owned syndie subsid Debmar-Mercury also throws off steady cash.

Execs planned to discuss the quarterly performance in detail with Wall Street analysts in a conference call today.

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