NBCUniversal as a whole– which includes Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and much more– may have even more up its sleeve in the increasing competition with Disney.
Universal Orlando Resort is currently in the midst of the biggest construction project in its history in the form of Epic Universe, which will be the largest Universal Park at its completion and is set to open in 2025. With the addition of the new theme park–which will join Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park– and new Resorts, industry insiders believe Universal Orlando will finally have the firepower to compete with Walt Disney World Resort.
But, it doesn’t seem that it will stop there.
Universal has expressed interest in buying Hulu from Disney if the streaming platform were to become available, and major news was just shared this week about another acquisition that could happen in the near future.
If Universal were to purchase WarnerBros, this would give the company access to many various IPs– including horror movies for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood– as well as Looney Tunes and DC.
Now, similar to Universal’s contract with Marvel that allowed them theme park rights to Marvel even after Disney purchased the studio, the same would be in place with DC and Looney Tunes, which have a theme park rights deal with SixFlags. However, that does not mean that Universal couldn’t buy the rights from Six Flags, or even Six Flags outright.
A report from Theme Park Insider shared the following about the current landscape of theme park rights, as it pertains to Disney and Universal:
“But what’s the incentive for Universal’s theme parks to go after DC? Universal Orlando already has the rights to Marvel and can keep them as long as the company wants. Disney has reached out to NBCUniversal multiple times to offer to acquire those rights for the Walt Disney World Resort, and NBCUniversal, in so many words, has told Disney to go jump into the Toon Lagoon.
Now if Universal had access to the DC rights, that might make the company willing to entertain an offer from Disney for the east coast Marvel rights. But unless Disney comes forward with something that Universal really needs, the Mouse House is going to have to offer to write a very, very large check to get NBCUniversal’s attention.”
If Universal wanted to, it could potentially leverage enough money that Disney would essentially be paying for its DC acquisition.
In addition, there have been rumors that Universal may be wanting to do something with The Lord of the Rings in its theme parks and this acquisition would give it this opportunity. Not to mention the various Hanna-Barbera characters, Cartoon Network, and other movies that Universal would have access to.
Finally, Universal would finally have complete ownership of the Harry Potter movies. While many already associate Universal with Harry Potter because of the Wizarding World, this is actually only due to an agreement with WarnerBros. and J.K. Rowling.
Whether this acquisition happens or not, there is one thing that is clear: Universal won’t stop with Epic Universe.
What do you think of this potential acquisition? Let us know in the comments!