Construction has halted on Universal Orlando Resort’s fourth theme park, Epic Universe, because of the coronavirus pandemic, said parent company Comcast Corp, on Thursday.

Speaking on Comcast’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Brian Roberts said construction has also been delayed at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Expected to open this summer, Super Nintendo World is likely to open “a few months” later, Roberts said. However, its new theme park in Beijing is expected to open on schedule next spring.

Orlando’s Epic Universe was originally expected to open in 2023.

All of Universal’s theme parks have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“But there is no doubt that our theme parks will reopen, and when they do, I believe we’ll benefit from strong, pent-up demand,” Roberts said. “We love these businesses. They have been one of our fastest growing for the last 10 years. They are extremely profitable, historically resilient and enjoy high barriers to entry.”

In the first quarter, theme park revenue was down 31.9% to $869 million, Comcast reported. 

According to CFO Michael Cavanagh, the park in Japan was already experiencing some softness prior to its closure related to Covid-19 on Feb. 29. The Universal Hollywood Resort closed March 14, followed by Universal Orlando on March 16.

“At this point, all of our theme parks are closed and we do not know when they will reopen,” Cavanagh said.

If the parks remain closed for the entirety of the second quarter, it will result in a $500 million loss before before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Asked by an analyst what capacity the parks would have to reach attendance-wise to break even, Cavanagh said typically 50%. But even with lower attendance, the company would be in better shape than if they were closed.

Universal will not push attendance when the parks do reopen, he said, because safety will be a priority.

“Our talented parks team is taking the right near-term steps to control costs while remaining laser-focused on putting in place the appropriate protocols, technology and infrastructure so that when we do reopen, our parks are safe and feel that way to consumers,” he said.

The CEO said he was “heartened” by what the company is seeing in China, where another theme park, Universal Studios Beijing, is under construction, slated to open in May 2021.

Going into the Chinese New Year when the coronavirus’ spread started to heighten in China, there were 12,000 construction workers working on the park, Roberts said. That quickly went to zero, but today there are more than 15,000 construction workers on the site.

“I’m pleased to announce we expect to be open on time and on budget in 2021,” he said. “Beijing may be different, but perhaps it shows the arc of this crisis.”

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