Comcast chief: ‘Food chain’ with Universal movies and theme park rides leads to success

OSAKA - JAN 10: The famous Universal Globe and touristes at Univ
Universal theme parks are both lucrative and most underappreciated part of company, the Comcast leader said.

Comcast leaders are hoping one hit leads to another.

First, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” smashed records for the biggest animated film worldwide opening of all time, bringing in $378 million.

By 2025, the Nintendo franchise is “going to power our new theme park” at Orlando’s Epic Universe, Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts said as he answered questions during the SVB MoffettNathanson Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

The Super Nintendo World-themed lands are already open at Universal’s California and Japan parks. Orlando gets its own version when Epic Universe opens sometime in the Summer of 2025. Roberts described Super Nintendo World as “a smorgasbord of colors and sounds and just incredible joy.”

Roberts plans to visit Orlando later this month to see the construction progress, he said.

Roberts highlighted the connection Universal’s movie portfolio has with its theme parks, where the intellectual property feeds into each other. He pointed to “Fast X,” the newest film in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise released this week that ties into one of the rides at Universal Studios Florida.

“We have that food chain,” Roberts said. “And consumer products. Add that to the mix.”

Roberts primarily spoke about Comcast’s cable and streaming business during his 40-minute talk Tuesday, but he did acknowledge theme parks are both lucrative and also “the most underappreciated part of the company.”

The parks have been a major moneymaker for Comcast in the rebound from the pandemic after the tourism and travel industries shut down worldwide and in the United States.

In last month’s earnings, theme parks generated $1.95 billion in revenue — up 25% from the same period in 2022 — and posted adjusted earnings of $658 million which set a record for a first quarter, the company said.

“Orlando continues to show good bookings, had a record run here post-COVID, came roaring back,” Roberts said. “Now we’re seeing it in Asia.”

The Japan park, with the new Nintendo Land, reopened in 2021 following the COVID-19 lockdown. Universal’s Beijing park is also profitable in China, Roberts said.

“We continue to invest in all these parks all away since we bought NBC Universal,” Roberts said.

Scheduled to speak Wednesday at the investor’s conference is Christine McCarthy, The Walt Disney Co.’s chief financial officer.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 16, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Who can even afford Universal tickets when they got infinitely increasing Comcast bills to pay?

Comments are closed.


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