Lions Gate perks up

Losses shrink, revs spurred by video and DVD

TORONTO — Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. spilled less red ink in fiscal 2003, as revenues surged with a strong video and DVD release slate.

The Vancouver and Marina del Rey film and TV producer and distributor reported a loss of $2.5 million, compared with a loss of $50.6 million a year ago. The company posted record revenues for the year ended March 31 of $301.8 million, up 11% from the previous year.

The DVD and video release of Oscar winner “Monster’s Ball” helped drive revenue for motion pictures, which includes the feature film and home entertainment divisions, up 30% to $208.9 million. Other DVD and video releases included “Frailty,” “Rose Red” and “The Rules of Attraction.”

TV down

TV revenues dropped by 16% to $59.4 million, as fewer TV movies were delivered during the year, and revenue at animation partner CineGroupe fell 21% to $28.2 million for the same reason. The company’s TV slate includes “The Dead Zone” and the TV movie “Superfire.”

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“Our results underscore the effectiveness of our strategy and reflect the continuing execution of our plan,” said Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer in a statement. “With the strongest pipeline in the company’s history moving into fiscal 2004, we will continue to strengthen our position as the market leader among the truly independent film and television companies.”

The company noted that revenue figures do not include North American theatrical revenues for “Confidence” and “House of 1000 Corpses,” both of which are expected to be released on home video in the second quarter and expected by company brass to generate “strong home entertainment results.”

New videos

Lions Gate also plans to release on video the first season of NBC’s “Will & Grace.”

The company’s 2004 theatrical slate includes the cloning thriller “Godsend,” with Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos; the crime drama “Wonderland,” with Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Lisa Kudrow and Josh Lucas; and “The Cooler,” with William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello.