Revenue at Universal's theme parks dropped more than 80 percent in the most recent quarter when compared to the same period a year ago, NBCUniversal owner Comcast reported today. But Comcast executives remained optimistic about their theme parks, saying that they are seeing improvement in attendance and revenue in Orlando and Japan and expect the parks business to be back to profitability next year.
Those theme parks booked $311 million in revenue for the three months ending September 30 and $1.3 billion for the year to date. The year-to-date figure is down 71 percent from the same period in 2019.
The Universal Orlando Resort was closed from mid-March through early June due to the pandemic, while Universal Studios Japan was closed from the end of February through mid-June. Universal Studios Hollywood closed in mid-June and remains closed. (Universal Studios Singapore is owned by Genting Singapore and operates under license from NBCUniversal.) Though they are now open again, the parks in Orlando and Japan continued to operate at reduced capacity to promote safe physical distancing among guests and team members.
The theme park segment's Adjusted EBITDA loss for the quarter was $203 million and $526 million for the year to date. The third quarter's loss includes approximately $20 million in pre-opening costs for the upcoming Universal Studios Beijing resort, which Comcast officials said is on schedule to open by next summer.
"We anticipate cumulative pre-opening costs to be roughly $400 million, with approximately $100 million falling in 2020 and $300 million in the first half of 2021," Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh said.
"We continue to see improvement in underlying trends and expect the theme park business to break even at some point in 2021, independent of what occurs with Universal Studios Hollywood," he said.
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