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Warner Third-Quarter Income Falls 31%

3 Nov, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending hit Inception proved no match against drunks and youthful fantasy as Time Warner Inc.’s filmed-entertainment unit posted third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) operating income of $200 million, down $91 million from operating income of $291 million during the prior-year period.

Filmed entertainment, which includes Warner Bros. Studios and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, reported flat revenue of $2.77 billion, compared with $2.78 billion last year.

Specifically, Inception, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a corporate thief of other people’s dreams, generated $291 million at the domestic box office and $818 million worldwide. By comparison, the prior-year quarter included revenue from the theatrical releases of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Hangover, as well as the video game release of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Potter ($302 million) and Hangover ($277 million) combined to generate $1.4 billion at the global box office. Both titles also posted strong home entertainment revenue, while Inception doesn’t hit retail channels until Dec. 7.

Indeed, Warner packaged-media and digital revenue, including transactional video-on-demand (VOD), of theatrical releases topped $534 million in the quarter, down $15 million from last year. Year-to-date revenue is up $173 million to $1.7 billion.

Time Warner’s television unit, the largest developer of network, cable and satellite programming, upped operating income to $924 million. Revenue from TV DVD and digital distribution increased $19 million to $215 million from $196 million last year.

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