'Hunger Games,' stronger movie slate drive Lions Gate growth

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. nearly doubled its revenue and reported positive quarterly net income thanks to the home entertainment release of "The Hunger Games" and a healthy movie slate.

The Santa Monica studio reported revenue of $707 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, the second on its fiscal calendar, up 97% from the same period a year earlier.

Net income was $75.5 million, compared with a net loss of $25.3 million last year.

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The strong results, higher than analysts had estimated, sent Lions Gate shares up 6% in after-hours trading Thursday.

All of the increase came from Lions Gate's motion picture division, which saw its revenue skyrocket 178% to $608 million.

"The Hunger Games" sold 3.8 million DVDs and Blu-ray discs in the film's first weekend on sale in August. The studio has yet to update that number or report how many digital copies it sold and rented of the blockbuster film adaptation of the bestselling book, which grossed $687 million worldwide after opening in March.

Lions Gate also benefited from several movies that did well at the box office, including the horror film "The Possession" and the action sequel "The Expendables 2." In the same period last year the studio suffered through a string of flops including "Conan the Barbarian," "Warrior" and "Abduction."

Television production revenue fell 29% to $99 million as the company behind "Mad Men" and the "Anger Management" delivered fewer series from its TV syndication unit Debmar-Mercury.

Shares in Lions Gate fell 48 cents, or 3.2%, to $14.60 on Thursday before financial results were released. So far this year its stock is up 75%, driven by the success of "The Hunger Games" and the January acquisition of "Twilight" studio Summit Entertainment.


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