In fiscal defense of Lionsgate’s flinching.

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The PR folk at Lionsgate must be having a tough week.  First AICN makes it big that director Lexi Alexander has been booted off of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, buried in an NDA and that the changes set in motion are less than ideal.  Then Scott Weinberg at Cinematical writes a plea to Lionsgate’s adressing their (mis)handling of DANCE OF THE DEAD.  And now Bloody-Disgusting has a war waged in its comments section regarding the news that MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN has not only been dumped in limited release, but is only being released in dollar theaters scattered with unicorn logic around the nation.

Now why are they doing all of this?  Lionsgate used to be the go to outfit for genre championship.  Now they’re dumping well received films with unprecedented disrespect.  What gives?  Shareholders give.

Lionsgate are, despite a few huge theatrical hits from time to time, apparently, not very good at business.  In 2007 LGF was like a drunk at a race track that picked all the winning horses (most of the time), but then blew all its earnings at the bar.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Lionsgate’s accountants are behind the eight ball with these recent decisions.  Their stock is up slightly for the year, but is still down nearly 13% from its high a year ago.  In FY08, LGF’s net income was -$70 million.  Not because their movies didn’t do well, but because the company made shitty investements along the way, operating at a -33% return on its equity.  Even I’m not that bad at the stock market. 

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