The privately held studio reported Wednesday a slight gain in earnings to $57.1 million from $56.8 million, thanks to increases in TV and home entertainment.
The absence of major first-quarter releases held down revenues compared with the 2015 quarter, which saw “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies,” as worldwide theatrical revenue for film content plunged 73% to $20.8 million in a reflection of the timing of franchise film releases from prior years. Theatrical revenue for the current year’s first quarter primarily included the tail-end of worldwide theatrical revenue for the James Bond movie “Spectre,” which opened in late October.
“Also, during the current year’s first quarter, we did not recognize a substantial portion of the theatrical revenue for ‘Creed’ or ‘How to Be Single,'” the studio said.
Worldwide television licensing revenue for film content slid 35% to $107 million, reflecting the timing of licensing revenue for library film content and the prior year’s first quarter, including the initial television availabilities for “Skyfall,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Hercules,” “22 Jump Street” and “If I Stay.”
Worldwide home entertainment revenue for film content was more than doubled to $91.4 million due to the worldwide release of “Spectre,” including strong electronic sell-through performance in the U.S. and the U.K. “In addition, we generated higher home entertainment revenue for library film content primarily due to the tail-end of our worldwide home entertainment promotion for the James Bond franchise,” the studio added.
Television content saw improvements in the wake of December’s deal for MGM to buy out the remaining 45% interest that Mark Burnett and Hearst Corp held in United Artists Media Group in deals worth $233 million total. Burnett also became president of MGM Television.
Adjusted EBITDA from TV content rose 56% to $21.6 million on a 38% gain in revenues to $49.3 million. MGM licensed new episodes of “Vikings,” “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” “Beyond the Tank” and “Lucha Underground.”
MGM saw profits gain 62% to $252 million last year in the wake of a strong performance by “Spectre.” The 24th James Bond movie hauled $880 million at the worldwide box office, including $200 million in the U.S. — but less than $25 million in 2016.
The studio has not yet dated the 25th Bond film and it’s uncertain if Craig will star.