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‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Drives Lionsgate Revenue Up 13% in 3rd Quarter

Company announced $96.4 million increase in revenue year-over-year for third quarter of fiscal 2014

Lionsgate announced a revenue increase of 13 percent year-over-year for the fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31 on Thursday, driven primarily by the success of films like “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Ender’s Game.”

“Our stellar results in the quarter were attributable to our operating performance, the favorable environment for content and the benefits from our strong balance sheet,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

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“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.”

The company, which trades as Lions Gate Entertainment, also reported a third quarter free cash flow of $117.4 million.

Lionsgate credited its positive third quarter 2014 earnings to the international success of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which grossed $860.5 million worldwide — a 25 percent increase over the first film, the company said. Two more films based on “Mockingjay,” the final book in Suzanne Collins‘ young adult trilogy, are scheduled to be released on Nov. 21, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2015.

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The studio also claimed the domestic theatrical release of “A Madea Christmas” and “Ender’s Game” contributed to the bottom line, although the latter film was not a huge success given its cost. “Ender’s Game” grossed only $112 million worldwide on a reported $110 million budget.

On the television side, Lionsgate’s Television Production unit saw a 17 percent increase in revenue — from $70.1 million in Q3 2013 to $82.3 million in the current quarter — which the company said offset a decline in home entertainment revenue from television production. Episodes of “Anger Management,” “Nashville” and “Orange Is the New Black” were among the shows delivered in the quarter.

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Lionsgate said it reduced corporate debt by $373 million over the course of the year. The principal amount outstanding on the $800 million revolving credit facility with JP Morgan the studio obtained in September 2012 had been reduced to less than $70 million as of Thursday’s filing, the company reported.

Lionsgate senior management will hold its analyst and investor conference call to discuss its third quarter fiscal 2014 financial results at 9 a.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 7.