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Lionsgate Posts Better-Than-Expected Profit In ‘Hunger Games’-Enhanced Quarter, But Strikes Hammer TV Production

Lionsgate posted better-than-expected earnings in its fiscal third quarter, even as the dual strikes of 2023 took a bite out of its television business.

The company, which is poised to split into two separate publicly traded entities in the coming months, reported adjusted earnings per share of 27 cents in the quarter ended December 31. That was well ahead of Wall Street analysts’ consensus forecast of 21 cents. Total revenue of $975.1 million, though, came up a bit short of forecasts and was down slightly from $1 billion in the year-ago period.

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The motion picture division anchored the overall quarter, with revenue shooting up 53% over the prior-year period to hit $443.2 million and profit up 31% to $100.4 million.

The key element in the film division’s quarter was The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which has taken in nearly $340 million at the box office since its release last November. The arrival of the new installment also energized prior Hunger Games library titles, the company said in its earnings release. Carryover box office from releases prior to the quarter, including Saw X and John Wick: Chapter Four, also made a notable contribution.

Television Production revenue fell more by more than half compared to the same quarter in fiscal 2023, settling at $248.4 million, as profit dropped to $8.1 million from $71.5 million. The company blamed the impact of the dual strikes, which not only hampered episodic deliveries but also hit the 3 Arts talent management business. Lionsgate last November upped its majority stake in 3 Arts, following an initial investment in 2018.

Comparisons with the year-earlier period were also daunting, as that was when the company licensed Schitt’s Creek.

Media Networks, the division that houses Starz, added 700,000 North American streaming subscribers over the previous quarter, helping segment revenue climb 10% year-over-year to $417.2 million.

Starz, which is about to be in its own distinct unit, has recently pulled back from its initial plan to expand into global markets. Its exit from Latin America took effect in the fiscal third quarter, helping profits rise 73% to $85.5 million.

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