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Alliance falls off ‘Rings’

Distrib's 3rd qtr. revs down from last year

MONTREAL — The absence of a “Lord of the Rings” release dampened results in the third quarter for Alliance Atlantis’ film distribution division. Revenue, cash flow and net earnings were all down in the quarter.

The homevid releases of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” boosted numbers in the same quarter last year and the most recent previous quarter, respectively.

Revenue for the Canuck company’s Motion Picture Distribution group for the third quarter was C$116.5 million ($97 million), down from $104 million in the third quarter last year. Canadian operations contributed 74% of revenue, the U.K. operations kicked in 16% and the new Spanish operations contributed 10%.

Cash flow for the quarter was $13 million, compared with $15 million a year earlier. Net earnings were $13 million, down from $14 million the previous year.

Strong theatrical pics in the quarter for the Canadian distribution operations included “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Hero” and “Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse.” The top DVD performers in Canada in the quarter were “The Barbarian Invasions,” “The Butterfly Effect” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2.”

In the U.K., Alliance Atlantis’ Momentum Pictures reported revenue growth of 19%, thanks to strong DVD/video releases, including “Football Factory,” season one of “CSI: Miami” and season three of “CSI.”

The third quarter was the first full quarter after the acquisition of Aurum Prods. in Spain. That company generated solid revenue in the quarter thanks to the theatrical release of “Mindhunters” and ongoing revenues from the DVD/video release of “The Return of the King.”

Nine-month revenue for Alliance Atlantis’ distribution division was up 33% to $312 million, compared with $235 million the previous year. Canadian operations contributed 74% of revenue, U.K. operations contributed 17% and Spanish operations contributed 9% since Aurum was acquired on May 12.

Cash flow for the nine-month period was $42 million, up 16% from $36 million in the first nine months of last year. Net earnings for the nine months was $38 million, up from $33 million last year.

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