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Hunger Games feeds Lionsgate's bottom line; Q3 profit more than doubles

VANCOUVER - Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) says boffo box office from hit films like "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" contributed to record quarterly revenue and a more than doubling of its profit in the third quarter.

The company, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., but has significant operations in Vancouver, says revenue was up 13 per cent at US$839.9 million in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Net income was $88.8 million, or 59 cents per diluted share, up from $37.8 million, or 27 cents in the same year-earlier period.

Adjusted net income in the quarter was $96.4 million, or 70 cents per share compared with adjusted net income of $61.4 million, or 45 cents in the 2012 period.

"Our stellar results in the quarter were attributable to our operating performance, the favourable environment for content and the benefits from our strong balance sheet," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a release Thursday.

"We will continue to invest in content and embrace innovative models for licensing that content to digital and traditional platforms alike in order to build on this performance and create additional long-term value for our shareholders."

Lionsgate said revenue, which it described as a record, was driven by the domestic and international box office performance of "The Hunger Games" sequel as well as contributions from domestic theatrical releases such as" Ender's Game" and "A Madea Christmas" and strong international performances from "Red 2," "Escape Plan" and "Now You See Me."

"Catching Fire" has grossed $860 million at the worldwide box office, a 25 per cent increase over the first Hunger Games film. The next two films in the franchise are being released in November 2014 and November 2015.

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