Citing soft performance of its movies, Lionsgate has reported sharply lower earnings of $40.7 million, or 27 cents a share — less than half of the year-ago quarter — for its third fiscal quarter, which ended on Dec. 31.
Revenues fell 11% to 670.5 million. The quarter included Jennifer Lawrence’s fourth and final “Hunger Games” movie, which grossed $652 million worldwide; the ensemble Christmas comedy “Love the Coopers”; and Vin Diesel’s “The Last Witch Hunter.” “Mockingjay — Part 2” earned $280 million at the domestic box office, the lowest sum of the four films.
The studio released the earnings after the market closed Thursday. The results were below the consensus expectation of 34 cents a share. Shares dropped 5.5%, falling $1.41 to $24.04 in after-hours trading after two hours.
“While the performance of our theatrical film slate resulted in softer than anticipated results, our other businesses performed strongly in the quarter,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “With our television business continuing its robust topline and margin growth, a deeper and more diversified film slate with lower costs and contributions anticipated from recently launched businesses, we have a clear path to resume our strong and sustainable financial trajectory in fiscal 2017.”
Motion Picture segment revenue declined 14% to $505.8 million as theatrical revenue edged down to $183.1 million from $186.4 million in the prior year quarter with Lionsgate pointing to the lower margins due to theatrical P&A expenses associated with four wide film releases in the quarter compared to two wide film releases in the prior year quarter.
Lionsgate’s home entertainment revenue from motion picture and television production slid 22% to $142 million with the studio citing the composition and timing of the slate of wide release theatrical titles offsetting increased home entertainment revenue from television production.
Television production segment revenue edged up 2% to $164.7 million as margins continued their growth trajectory in the quarter. The company said deliveries of “Orange is the New Black,” “Nashville” and “The Royals” are expected to drive strong growth in the fourth quarter along with the first full quarter of results from Pilgrim Studios, in which Lionsgate acquired a majority stake in November.
Lionsgate disclosed early Thursday in a regulatory filing that it had made a formal overture to Starz to launch acquisition talks, a year after the companies were brought together by investor John Malone.