Studio reports loss of $163 million for fiscal year

Driven by strong box office, homevid and library sales, Lionsgate reported its second-highest quarterly revenue of $463.2 million for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — but that wasn’t enough to save it from a $163 million loss for the fiscal year.

The mini-major, which made the announcement after the market closed Monday, reported full year revenues of $1.47 billion. It did not break out its fourth-quarter loss.

The 2009 revenues were up 8% but the loss was more than double the $74 million loss in fiscal 2008.

Lionsgate said the fiscal-year loss was due primarily to underperformance of its film slate during its second and third quarters and a $36.1 million charge taken on its DVD distribution of Hit Entertainment’s family entertainment titles.

For the 2009 fiscal year, motion picture revenue jumped 17% to $223.3 million, propelled by fourth-quarter titles including “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail,” “My Bloody Valentine” and “The Haunting in Connecticut.”

Lionsgate said theatrical distribution and marketing expenses rose 1.3% to $330.5 million for the year and will decrease by more than $100 million in fiscal 2010. Co-chair and CEO Jon Feltheimer indicated in a statement that he expects financial performance to improve in fiscal 2010.

“We ended our fiscal year on a strong note, with record box office in the first calendar quarter,” Feltheimer said. “We are also pleased that we could drive library, home entertainment and television revenues to record levels in such a challenging market environment. We believe that continued strength in our core businesses coupled with meaningful contributions from many of our recent investments and lower theatrical marketing costs position us for strong positive metrics in fiscal 2010.”

Lionsgate had told analysts and investors in February that losses for the 2009 fiscal year would be around $135 million on revenues between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion.

The mini-major said Monday that it had $138.5 million in cash as of March 31. Its balance sheet received a boost last week with the announcement that Lionsgate had reached an agreement to sell 49% of the TV Guide Network and TV Guide.com for $123 million to One Equity Partners and Allen Shapiro, five months after buying the network and website.

Lionsgate has been under pressure this year from billionaire Carl Icahn, who owns 14.5% of the stock and has complained about management of the mini-major. Icahn hasn’t indicated if he’ll wage a proxy fight for control of the company.

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