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‘Hunger Games’ powers Lionsgate earnings

Fiscal Q2 revenue, EPS blow past analyst estimates

Blowing away Wall Street forecasts, Lionsgate has reported higher quarterly earnings of $75.5 million, or 56¢ a share for its second quarter ended Sept. 30, vs. a loss of $25.3 million, or 27¢ a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The report pushed up shares of Lionsgate in after-hours trading, with the issue rising 6% to $15.48.

Revenues surged 97% to $707 million on strong homevideo revenues from “The Hunger Games” and domestic box office from pics including “The Expendables 2,” “The Possession” and “Step Up Revolution.”

Results were far above the consensus among Wall Street analysts, which had been for 9¢ a share.

“The quarter reflected many of the core values that have driven our growth over the past 12 years — creation and renewal of major film franchises, strong and consistent library performance and contributions from our diverse mix of businesses worldwide,” said CEO Jon Feltheimer. “With the home entertainment release of the first film in our ‘Hunger Games’ franchise making significant contributions to our results in the quarter, we’re clearly on track to meet or exceed our expectations this year.”

The company reported the earnings as the market closed Thursday, eight days before it opens the fifth and final “Twilight” film — “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.” The four “Twilight” films have generated more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office for Summit Entertainment.

Lionsgate announced Oct. 18 that it had paid off its $500 million Summit term loan four years early. It had taken out the term loan as part of its $412.5 million leveraged buyout of Summit Entertainment in January.

Revenues surged across the board for movies, as Lionsgate saw the addition of Summit titles. Overall motion picture revenue surged 178% to $608.0 million, reflecting gains in all categories, while theatrical revenue spiked fivefold to $116.2 million.

Home entertainment revenue jumped 59% to $277.8 million due to “The Hunger Games,” “Cabin in the Woods,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Safe” and “Friends With Kids.”TV revenue included in motion picture revenue rose 26% to $35.5 million. International motion picture revenue excluding the U.K. increased more than fourfold to $108 million while Lionsgate U.K. revenue jumped 120% to $48.4 million.

TV production revenue declined slid 29% to $99 million as increases in domestic series licensing were offset by fewer deliveries from the Debmar-Mercury syndication arm and decreased digital media revenues compared to the 2011 quarter — which included delivery of the first four seasons of “Mad Men” to Netflix.

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