Local film distributor Hopscotch posted a pre-tax profit of £1.8 million ($2.73 million) over the ten-and-a-half months to March 31 this year, according to documents lodged by parent company Entertainment One.

Hopscotch was acquired by eOne on May 13 last year for £18.3 million ($27.8 million), comprised of £12 million ($18.23 million) cash and £6.3 million ($9.57 million) in eOne shares. The Hopscotch business was previously owned by Troy Lum, Frank Cox and Sandie Don.

eOne, which posted a group-wide pre-tax profit of £23.1 million ($35.09 million) over the financial year ended March 31, said the Australian business had been quickly integrated into the group and performed strongly during the year.

“The business released 30 films theatrically following acquisition including Source Code, Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning Midnight in Paris, Incendies, A Separation and We Need to Talk about Kevin. Home video also performed well with a strong portfolio of theatrical titles, big-brand TV franchises and straight-to-DVD movies. Over 70 titles were released including the theatrical releases, hit TV series The Slap and three series of the UK comedy show The Inbetweeners.

“Tangible benefits from the acquisition were achieved quickly with the extension of the group’s output deals with Summit and Lakeshore to Australia while more recently the business has participated in multi-territory film acquisitions and in developing the rapid growth of Peppa Pig in the local market. In November an agreement was reached with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to take over distribution of the group’s home entertainment product across Australia and New Zealand.”

Hopscotch’s upcoming theatrical slate includes local film The Sapphires, Bachelorette (starring Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst), Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (starring Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Jesse Eisenberg) and Ron Howard’s Formula 1 biography of Niki Lauda, Rush.

eOne also said that Hopscotch contributed £15.8 million ($24.01 million) to the group’s revenue between the date of acquisition and March 2012. If the acquisition had occured on the first day of its financial year (April 1, 2011) Hopscotch's pre-tax profit would have been boosted to £2.0 million ($3.03 million) and revenue to £16.9 million ($25.67 million).

Hopscotch Features (which is not owned by eOne) recently finished shooting its first two local feature films: I, Frankenstein and The Grandmothers.

Contact this reporter at bswift@www.if.com.au or on Twitter at @bcswift.

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