Entertainment One investment hits profit in breakthrough year

INDEPENDENT film studio Entertainment One has ploughed more money into movie production and promotion ahead of the release of its latest lucrative Twilight movie and its acquisition of Alliance Films.

The investments pushed the Canadian company’s profits down to just £1m in the first half of the financial year, it said yesterday. This was down from £9.8m in the same period last year, even as Entertainment One’s revenues rose eight per cent to £220.5m.

“I’d expect some pretty chunky numbers in the next half,” chief executive Darren Throop told City A.M.. He called the last six months “a breakthrough period”, in which the firm agreed a C$225m (£142m) deal for movie distributor Alliance Films and rolled out licensing and merchandising deals for the wildly popular Peppa Pig children’s cartoon in the US.

The final chapter in the Twilight movie saga, Breaking Dawn Part Two, is expected to be a huge success when it screens later this month, but Throop said an end to the series would not harm the studio. “We are not going to see any downward revenue pressure,” he said, pointing to the Alliance Films acquisition as a driver of growth.

Entertainment One expects the deal to be approved by Canadian competition authorities shortly, and to be completed in early 2013.