Lionsgate posts second quarter loss

'Bangkok,' 'Disaster' misfires cut into revenue

Saddled with declining theatrical and TV revenues, Lionsgate posted a net loss in the second quarter of $48.1 million, only a bit narrower than its $58 million loss in the year-ago period.

That the company made any headway at all was due to lower marketing costs than the comparable 2007 slate, which included “3:10 to Yuma” and “Good Luck Chuck.”

On the top line, results were strong, with total revenue of $380.7 million increasing 8%. Overall motion picture revenue reached $312.2 million, an increase of 29% from $242.1 million, as growth in homevid, TV from motion pictures and Mandate Pictures offset declines in theatrical and international.

Theatrical revenue slumped 25% to $34 million from $45.3 million due to misfires like “Bangkok Dangerous,” “Disaster Movie” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Although not a wide bow like that trio, Iraq vet ensembler “The Lucky Ones” also didn’t click. The lone standout was “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys.”

Recent hits such as “Religulous” and “Saw V” were released after the Sept. 30 end of the quarter.

Mandate Pictures, acquired a year ago by Lionsgate, kicked in $21.2 million in revenue derived from “Juno,” “30 Days of Night” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”

On the TV production side, the timing of new series hurt revenue, which fell 38% to $68.5 million. “Mad Men” and “Weeds” had new seasons during the quarter. Via syndie subsid Debmar-Mercury, Lionsgate also controls “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Family Feud” and others. The TV unit remains on pace to approach $250 million in revenue this year, the company said.

Chief exec Jon Feltheimer, who recently reupped through 2013, said the results indicate the seeds of growth have been sown.

“We are also beginning to see the kind of performance from many of our recent investments such as Mandate and Debmar-Mercury that will help elevate us to the next level,” he said. “Given the current environment, we are tasking our senior managers to be even more disciplined in their operations and even more innovative in their thinking.”

To the latter point, the company said it would save $10 million a year from an 8% across-the-board staff cut, which was disclosed Friday.

Execs did not have to face immediate questions about the cutbacks or the company’s ailing stock because, by custom, Lionsgate skedded its conference call with Wall Street analysts for this morning.

Lionsgate’s stock, which has spent most of the past four years locked in a tight range between $9.50 and $10.50 a share, suddenly crumbled this fall amid the global downturn and fell 4.4% to finish at $6.33.

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