ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ENVELOPE COMPANY TOWN

Lionsgate earnings beat expectations, but revenue falls with fewer releases

Lionsgate, the studio behind the “Hunger Games” franchise, reported a better-than-expected profit of $43.3 million, spurred in part by lower marketing costs.

The Santa Monica studio released two films during the first quarter compared with three a year earlier, when it put out the hit "Now You See Me." That contributed to both lower marketing costs and lower revenue.

Lionsgate posted a per-share profit of 30 cents, up from 10 cents a share, or $13.6 million, a year earlier. Wall Street analysts predicted a per-share profit of 17 cents.

Revenue fell to $449.4 million from $569.7 million a year earlier as the company's motion picture, television production and home entertainment segments each posted lower sales figures.

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For the record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the amount of television production revenue. 

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Matthew Harrigan, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities, said the light revenue was not a surprise given the quarter's lean film slate. Harrigan expects the stock price to reach $37 in the next year.

Shares closed at $30.35 on Thursday, and rose 45 cents to $30.80 in after-hours trading.

“During the quarter we deepened our portfolio of brands and franchises, extended our global reach and formed entrepreneurial partnerships with digital and traditional platforms,” Lionsgate Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

Motion picture revenue fell to $331.9 million compared with $438.6 million a year earlier. Within that segment, theatrical revenue declined to $42.7 million because of fewer releases.

Bolstered by the television premieres of feature films “Ender’s Game” and “Red 2,” TV revenue within the motion picture segment increased to $58.8 million from $36.8 million in the prior year.

Lionsgate’s television production revenue fell to $117.5 million compared with $131.1 million the year before. Revenue delivered by hits including Netflix's “Orange Is the New Black” was offset in part by fewer domestic episode deliveries from the split seventh season of AMC's “Mad Men.”

Lionsgate has more than 30 television shows on more than 20 networks.

Home entertainment revenue also fell to $140.9 million compared with  $169.4 million in the prior year. Two theatrical titles were released for at-home viewing compared with five last year.

Twitter: @madeline_oh

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