Universal Orlando reported its best first-quarter earnings ever as Universal’s parks division continues to recover from the pandemic.
Executives shared few new details about Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, Epic Universe, during an earnings call Thursday morning.
The company’s third Orlando theme park will be anchored by Super Nintendo World — the only themed area Universal has confirmed for the property so far — and “other key attractions,” said Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO.
Epic Universe’s construction will cost the company around $1 billion in capital expenditure year-over-year, Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh said.
“Our investments are significantly expanding the potential of our theme parks business, which will remain and important and exciting growth engine for years to come,” Roberts said, adding the division’s recovery has been “fantastic.”
The park is expected to open by summer 2025. Executives did not provide an updated timeline Thursday.
In 2022′s first quarter, Universal’s theme parks worldwide drew more visitors and higher earnings from January through March 2021, Cavanagh said. Orlando and Japan’s resorts still operated with limited capacity this time last year, Universal Studios Hollywood was closed and Universal Beijing Resort was not yet open.
NBCUniversal’s theme parks generated $1.5 billion in revenue last quarter, an increase of over 150% from the $619 million reported in 2021′s first quarter.
But international visitation still lags at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood at “less than half” of its normal volume for this time of year, Roberts said. Despite the decline, advance bookings are at “historically high levels” for the domestic parks through the summer.
Universal Orlando reported back-to-back record-breaking profits during the latter half of 2021. Its fourth quarter was the resort’s “best quarter in the company’s history for any quarter,” Roberts said in January. The Orlando property helped the company’s theme park division report its most profitable fourth quarter on record after leading it in pandemic recovery the preceding quarter.
Much of Thursday’s call focused on Comcast’s broadband, cable and streaming services, following the company’s Wednesday announcement it would be developing a new streaming platform with Charter.
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