Alliance Atlantis Communications announced a record 91% increase in first quarter revenue at its Motion Picture Group. The big numbers -- $45.6m compared to $23.9m in the first quarter 2000 -- were driven by strong performances at the box office and in home video. In a statement, company CEO Michael McMillan credited features such as Bridget Jones's Diary, Blow, Spy Kids and Traffic - for delivering generating large audiences, as well as continued growth at Momentum Pictures, the company's wholly-owned U.K.-based releasing arm. Read the statement, "Through the strategic acquisition of high quality video and DVD libraries as well as a select slate of theatrical releases Momentum is now making a significant contribution to our operating earnings."
Future Canadian releases in the current fiscal year include Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings - Part 1, Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York and Lasse Halstrom's The Shipping News. All the titles mentioned came to the company through subdistribution deals with US-based distributors such as Miramax, New Line and USA.
The company's good news wasn't limited to the movie business. AAC enjoyed a revenue boost across the board -- first quarter numbers were up 64% leaping from $68.5m last year to $112.1m - thanks to strong results across the other two divisions, the Broadcast and Television Groups. Broadcast had sustained growth in subscriber and advertising revenue while the Television Group is benefiting from its hit television series CSI: Crime Scene, which scored a landmark second window sale to US-based The National Network.
MacMillan said the company is setting itself up for future growth, having recently signed carriage agreements for seven of its new digital channel set to launch this September, including The Independent Film Channel Canada (subject to regulatory approval), National Geographic Channel, BBC Canada and BBC Kids.