Lionsgate has reported earnings of $19.6 million, or 14 cents a share, for its fourth fiscal quarter that ended on March 31 — down 60% from a year ago — in a report that left investors unshaken.
The studio’s fiscal year earnings increased 20% to $181.8 million. Quarterly revenues, on the other hand, dropped 10% to $646.1 million and fiscal year revenues declined 9% to $2.4 billion.
The report was issued Thursday after the market closed but Wall Street appeared to take the news in stride. The stock rose 12 cents to $32.10 a share in after-hours trading.
Lionsgate noted it had 10 wide release films in the fiscal year compared to 13 in the prior year. It anticipates 14 wide release theatrical films in the current fiscal year.
Free cash flow in the quarter jumped 161% to $157.2 million as of March 31. Free cash flow for all of fiscal 2015 was $261.6 million, marking the third straight year in which Lionsgate delivered over $250 million in free cash flow.
Lionsgate said the yearly earnings improvement stemmed from strong domestic and international TV performance; a film slate that included “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1,” “Insurgent” and “John Wick;” increased earnings from its investment in Epix; reduced interest expense; and lower theatrical marketing costs.
The studio made no mention of Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai,” which grossed only $7.7 million domestically and $22 million internationally following its January launch. “Mockingjay — Part 1” took in $337 million domestically and $415 million internationally following its November opening.
Lionsgate’s overall motion picture segment revenue in the fiscal year declined 17% to $1.82 billion due to the smaller slate. Revenue for the TV production segment rose 30% to a record $579.5 million due to gains in domestic television licensing and syndication, international television revenue and home entertainment revenue from television production.
Lionsgate noted it delivered a record 238 episodes and 168 hours of domestic TV in the fiscal year, including episodes of “Anger Management,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Nashville,” “Mad Men,” “Manhattan,” “The Royals” and “Nurse Jackie.” It said the fiscal year also benefitted from significant domestic TV revenue from “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Family Feud.”
Lionsgate also said record international TV revenue included licensing of “Anger Management,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Nashville” and “Mad Men.”
CEO Jon Feltheimer issued a bullish outlook for Lionsgate, noting its inroads into China via partnserships with Alibaba and Hunan TV.
“We’re pleased to report very strong financial results in fiscal 2015, bolstered by a stellar performance from our television business, complemented by a great year on the strategic front as well,” he said.
“With the launch of new strategic initiatives ranging from location-based entertainment and OTT platforms to video games and virtual reality, exciting new partnerships in China, a robust portfolio of current and future film franchises and the strongest balance sheet in the company’s history, we’re very well positioned to capitalize on opportunities throughout our global environment.”
Lionsgate had theatrical revenue of $354 million in full-year 2015, compared to $524.7 in the prior year, owing to the smaller theatrical slate. The studio’s full-year home entertainment revenue also fell to $707.5 million, against a year-earlier $864 million, as fewer wide theatrical releases offset home entertainment gains from TV production.
On the small screen, Lionsgate posted record TV production revenue at $579.5 million in full-year 2015, up 30 percent from a year-earlier $447.4 million. The studio delivered 238 episodes and 168 hours of series fare, including Anger Management, Orange is the New Black, The Royals and Nurse Jackie.