The funniest line in the release? Lionsgate was profitable in its fiscal first quarter in part due to “decreased costs associated with shareholder activism” — an obvious reference to billionaire Carl Icahn’s run at the studio last year. Lionsgate swung to a $12.2M profit from a $64.1M loss in the same quarter last year on revenues of $261.3M, down 20%. The earnings, at 9 cents a share, may startle analysts who were expecting a 7 cent loss. Lionsgate says that cable channel EPIX delivered a $4.8M profit this time vs a $12M loss last year. That compensated for Lionsgate’s share of the increased loss at TV Guide Network. The venture, which it co-owns with JP Morgan Chase’s One Equity Partners, lost $8.2M, up 23.8%, while revenues there fell 2.7% to $28.3M. But company watchers also likely will wonder why revenues fell short of the nearly $320M they expected. Lionsgate says it’s just a timing issue — many of its movies are out in the current quarter, not the last one. It had just one wide theatrical release in FY 1Q, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family while in the same period last year there were three, Kick Ass, Killers, and Why Did I Get Married Too. Lionsgate will talk to analysts tomorrow.
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