NBCUniversal's theme parks continue breakeven streak

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Universal Studios Hollywood globe_C [Credit: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock.com]
Universal Studios Hollywood reopened at 25% capacity on April 16. Photo Credit: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock.com

Barring pre-opening costs of its new park in Beijing, in the first quarter of 2021, NBCUniversal's theme parks broke even for the second consecutive quarter.

During parent company Comcast Corp.'s most recent financial earnings call on Thursday morning, Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said that was "driven by remarkable attendance at Universal Orlando."

"We can see firsthand pent-up demand for high-quality entertainment and family fun outside of the home, and we remain incredibly bullish on the parks business," Roberts said.

Theme park revenue was down 33.1% to $619 million in the first quarter. During the quarter, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Japan were operating at limited capacity, CFO Michael Cavanagh said. Universal Studios Hollywood, which reopened at 25% capacity on April 16, was closed for the entire first quarter. 

Theme parks' adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) loss was $61 million in the first quarter, which included pre-opening costs for Universal Beijing.

Cavanagh said Universal Beijing is still on track to open this summer.

While Universal Studios Japan recently had to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions, Roberts was still bullish on the future of the parks, especially with the reopening of Universal Studios Hollywood earlier this month.

"Our long-term excitement stems from the fact that we have a fabulous road map of new attractions and experiences awaiting guests as they safely return to our current parks," Roberts said.

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