Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) wasn't quite the king of the jungle this time around. The studio reported net income of $0.19 per diluted share for the quarter, versus the $0.27 per diluted share booked in the year-ago period.

Lions Gate made sure to focus on the trailing 12 months in the headline of its press release, since net income per diluted share for that time period roughly quadrupled to $0.25, despite a mere 3% increase in net revenue. Cuts to direct operating expenses helped that figure.

Even though the release lacked a proper Q4 table, investors still noticed the quarterly debacle, bidding the stock down in after-hours trading. That may have been a bit short-sighted; although I'm a biased bull on Lions Gate, I have to agree that the yearly statistics suggest the company's doing fine.

While revenue from multiplex exhibition declined 26%, overall motion picture revenue jumped 6%, driven by an outstanding sales performance for television windows. Movies like Saw III and Hostel did nice business in the TV channel. Library revenues soared 21%, and free cash flow, by the company's calculation, increased 11%. (Operational cash flow did decline, though.) Home video continues to do well, while television production saw a downturn; timing issues resulted in fewer delivered episodes.

The Lion is holding its own among big players like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), Viacom (NYSE:VIA), Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Sony (NYSE:SNE). And while quarterly earnings didn't meet Wall Street's expectations, nothing stops me from believing both in the studio's ability to develop strong celluloid slates full of edgy, youth-targeted topics, and in its 11,000+ film library.

Fine, the quarter stunk. But I like the overall picture. Shareholders are preparing for the sequel to Hostel, due next month, and perhaps most of all, the continuation of the Jigsaw mythos when Saw IV cuts its way into theaters this Halloween. With a great library and some high-profile franchises, Lions Gate should hopefully continue to grow its cash flow over time, delivering value to patient shareholders.   

A Foolish pride of Takes:

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney. As of this writing, he was ranked 4,674 out of 29,513 rated plauers in the Motley Fool CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool's disclosure policy is secretly fond of musicals.