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Iron Man Helps Spike Paramount Home Entertainment Revenue

4 Nov, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite being released the last day of the third quarter (ended Sept. 30), pre-sales of the Iron Man DVD and Blu-ray Disc helped buoy Paramount Home Entertainment revenue 30%, or $136 million, to $593 million, according to studio officials.

The popular title sold about 7.2 million DVD and Blu-ray units during its first week of release — tops of any packaged media release in 2008. The studio said Iron Man to date had sold 850,000 Blu-ray units.

Iron Man is the No. 1 DVD of the year and the best-selling Blu-ray disc of all time,” said Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of studio parent Viacom, in a call with investors.

Tom Dooley, CFO of parent Viacom, said despite home entertainment’s profitable quarter, the theatrical unit suffered a 36% decline in revenue to $312 million when it release slate, including Tropic Thunder and American Teen, among others, failed to match the box office success of Transformers during the prior-year period.

Transformers generated more than $700 million in global box office revenue.

The decline resulted in an operating loss of $19 million for filmed entertainment on revenue of $1.31 billion, compared to operating income of $72 million and revenue of $1.3 billion last year.

Dauman said director Steven Spielberg would continue to produce the “Transformers” franchise (a sequel is now in production), in addition to collaborating on three other unnamed Paramount titles.

The studio remains ebullient about fourth-quarter filmed entertainment consolidated income projections, which executives said would benefit from the DVD releases of summer hits Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Kung Fu Panda, among others.

The studio plans to release upwards of 20 titles annually, including 12 movies from Paramount Pictures, four from Paramount Vantage and two-to-four tiles from DreamWorks Animation and Marvel Studios.

Overall, net income for Viacom fell 37%, to $401 million from $641 million, despite revenue of $3.4 billion, up 4% from $3.2 billion last year.

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