Big Earnings Continue at Universal's Theme Parks

April 27, 2023, 8:43 AM · Universal Studios' theme parks posted record earnings for a first quarter in the first three months of 2023, parent company Comcast reported today.

The company's recently renamed Destinations & Experiences segment reported Adjusted EBITDA of $658 million for the three month period ending March 31, on revenue of $1.949 billion.

Those numbers were an increase of 46% and nearly 25%, respectively, over the same period in 2022.

"The business overall is really rocking," Comcast President Mike Cavanagh said. "I would be remiss by not calling out first the the quarter that the international side had. [Universal Studios Japan] had all-time highs for attendance, per caps, revenue and EBITA for first quarter since it opened in 2001. And likewise in China, we generated significant profitability in a tougher season and the highest-ever quarterly attendance, despite it being wintertime.

"So that's the international side, and on the domestic side things continue to perform really well. In Hollywood, we had Super Nintendo World open, driving really strong attendance and per caps. They're way ahead of last year and pre-pandemic levels on the back of excellent guest feedback. And in Orlando, really solid results in the quarter. We had unprecedented visitation last year, way ahead of 2019, pre-Covid. So as expected growth rates have slowed down, but performance continues to be solid, and go forward, booking still looks solid - similar pattern to Q1 of last year. So far, things continue to look good as we look ahead on the domestic side."

You can read our coverage of the Super Nintendo World opening at Fans Pack Super Nintendo World for Official Opening. Later this year, Universal will open Villain-Con Minion Blast at Universal Studios Florida, with Donkey Kong under construction in Japan for 2024, and Epic Universe in Orlando on pace for a 2025 debut.

This was Comcast's first earnings report since dismissing former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, who left the company after an investigation into "an improper relationship." [Jeff Shell Out as CEO at NBCUniversal] Shell's direct reports are now reporting to Cavanagh.

"I think what's really important to understand is that we've got high quality operators and leaders and all the seats around the company, Philadelphia, LA, New York, Orlando, and so forth," Cavanagh said. "So while I'll have to work a little harder, and frankly, I'm energized to do so because I look forward actually to spending time getting closer to the NBCU businesses and spending more time deeper in them and with the leaders there and frankly, since I'm going to be here for a long time, I actually think that's good for me and good for the company over the long term."

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Replies (2)

April 27, 2023 at 4:18 PM

And this is before Epic Universe! Go Universal!

April 29, 2023 at 8:39 PM

Super Nintendo World (and the success of Mario) is just icing on the cake!

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