Warner Bros. has strong quarter

A strong year for Burbank-based Warner Bros. Studios helped media giant Time-Warner Inc. grow revenue in the second fiscal quarter, according to an earnings statement released Wednesday.

Time-Warner's filmed entertainment division brought in $2.5 billion in the second quarter of 2010, up 8% from the previous quarter. The growth was driven by films such as "Clash of the Titans," which earned $492 million at the box office, and "Sex and the City 2," according to the company.

Profit from the film division slipped to $173 million, off 2% from the previous quarter. Company officials attributed most of the slide in film profits to growing production and promotional costs.

The company has 26 TV prime-time series in production, as well as movies ranging from the next in the "Harry Potter" series to a 3-D Yogi Bear feature.

Nancy Sidhu, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, said last week that filming of TV pilots is one of the bright spots in the current Southland economy, and that studios are doing more hiring than businesses in any other sector.

She said advertisers also are returning to the airwaves, improving the bottom lines at networks.

Overall, Time-Warner, cable networks HBO, CNN and several other media properties reported operating income of $6.4 billion. That was up 15% from the same quarter a year ago, according to the report.

Consistent with recent results for Glendale-based DreamWorks Animation, Time-Warner reported more robust international revenue and income from consumer products.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has delivered 2.7 million copies of the game "Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4."

In a conference call Wednesday morning, Bewkes said games represent "a growing percentage of Warner Bros. revenues. It is one of the high-growth areas inside Warner Bros."

Bewkes was bullish on Time-Warner's prospects for the rest of the year. While the new 3-D movie "Cats & Dogs: The Return of Kitty Galore" had a disappointing opening last month, the Leonardo DiCaprio film "Inception" has earned more than $360 million at the box office since opening July 16.

Yet Chief Financial Officer John Martin said nearly half of Warner Bros.' profit comes from producing television shows, differentiating the studio from other moviemakers.

"One of the reasons they are probably less volatile than the rest of the competition in terms of earnings performance" is television work, he said.

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