Alliance Atlantis Communications boosted its third quarter earnings by 123% thanks in part to brisk video sales of The Blair Witch Project and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Net earnings for the third quarter ended December 31 were C$14.3m (US$9.9m) compared to last year's C$5.3m. That trend is likely to continue thanks to the company's retrenchment strategy that sees it focusing on its core business of television and motion picture production and distribution and broadcasting. Last month, the company reduced its Los Angeles motion picture office and last week unloaded a 70% interest in its structured finance division Equicap (see More News).

Alliance Atlantis Cinemas, which started operating last year, contributed C$2.4m to the revenue mix. The financial statement also had good news for the company's broadcast interests, which saw a boost in advertising revenue and increased subscriptions for its specialty channels. However, revenue for its television group was off slightly because of the company's reduction in hours produced. The picture is likely to brighten when its fewer but higher margin projects come into the revenue stream.