Lionsgate Entertainment vs. DreamWorks Animation: Which Is the Better Investment?

Both of these relatively young companies offer potential, but one of them likely offers more potential along with less risk.

Mar 21, 2014 at 9:30AM

If you're going to invest in a "young" production company, then you're likely going to consider Lionsgate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) or DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA). Both of these companies were founded around the same time: Lionsgate was founded in 1986, while DreamWorks was founded in 1985. While both have delivered some big hits over the years, one of them should clearly offer more potential than the other does.

Mr Peabody And Sherman

Source: DreamWorks Animation.

Recent success
DreamWorks Animation's Mr. Peabody & Sherman came in tops at the box office this weekend with $21.2 million in box-office sales. It also only dropped 34% from the prior (opening) weekend. This might not sound good, but the result was right in line with that of How to Train Your Dragon, and it's better than the 39% drop The Croods saw in its second weekend.

To date, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has done $63.1 million at the domestic box office and $148.1 million at the worldwide box office. Considering the movie's production budget of $145 million and the decent momentum of Mr. Peabody & Sherman up until this point, it should be a success for DreamWorks Animation.

However, it's not going to be a home run. As expected, moviegoers see the movie as good, not great. Mr. Peabody & Sherman currently sports a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 79% as well as a 7.1 (out of 10) rating on Therefore, it should have decent yet not extraordinary future at-home viewing potential.

Also keep in mind that Mr. Peabody & Sherman doesn't have much competition at the box office. Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Frozen is on its way out of theaters. Mr. Peabody & Sherman had excellent release timing, but it should see more competition down the road in the at-home viewing market.

DreamWorks Animation should have more potential with How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13, 2014) and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 17, 2016). The original only did $217.5 million at the box office domestically and $494.8 million worldwide. I use the word "only" here because the movie had a very strong Rotten Tomatoes audience approval rating of 91% and a solid 8.2 rating on IMDb. At least these positive reviews should lead to increased demand for the sequel.

Catching Fire

Source: Lionsgate Entertainment.

Strong brand development
Many people don't believe in Lionsgate Entertainment's prospects, but they might be missing the big picture. Though it has not exclusively focused on this, Lionsgate is clearly attempting to become the leader in young-adult filmed entertainment. The Hunger Games has been a huge success thus far and Divergent will likely attract the same crowd.

These types of franchises attract cult-like followings. That being the case, even if an installment of a popular franchise misses, these fans aren't likely to give up. While production companies aren't often seen as developing loyal followings -- with perhaps the exception of Disney -- Lionsgate Entertainment is achieving this goal right now.

In addition to the aforementioned trilogies, Lionsgate Entertainment will release The Outliers trilogy down the road. Reese Witherspoon will star as the lead, a woman searching for her friend in the woods only to find "The Outliers" -- a group of people who supposedly use intuition as a psychological weapon.

By the numbers
Both DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate Entertainment offer potential, but their risks must be weighed. First consider a top-line performance comparison for the three aforementioned companies:

DWA Revenue (TTM) Chart

DWA Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

As far as Disney goes, it's a beautiful beast. It's steady on the top line, it has generated $9.52 billion in operational cash flow over the past year, it offers a 1.1% dividend yield, and it only trades at 22 times earnings.

Lionsgate Entertainment has been growing much faster than DreamWorks Animation on the top line. On top of that, it trades at just 19 times earnings, whereas DreamWorks Animation trades at 42 times earnings. Furthermore, Lionsgate Entertainment has generated $203.69 million in operational cash flow over the past year, whereas DreamWorks Animation has generated operational cash flow of $26.99 million over the same time frame. As if that's not enough, Lionsgate Entertainment offers a dividend yield of 0.60%, whereas DreamWorks Animation doesn't offer a dividend.

Perhaps most important, Lionsgate Entertainment still has two more installments of The Hunger Games and all three installments of Divergent to release. DreamWorks Animation has its biggest near-term potential in two more installments of How to Train Your Dragon.

The Foolish bottom line
This isn't to say that DreamWorks Animation is a poor investment option. DreamWorks Animation has had its ups and downs, and that's likely to continue. However, if you're looking for growth potential and more fiscal strength, then you might want to consider Lionsgate Entertainment first. If you prefer the safety of massive fiscal strength, brand recognition, and diversification, then you might want to consider Disney.

The battle for the small screen
As far as the future of entertainment is concerned, you know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.


Dan Moskowitz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers