Universal Studios Profits Hit All-Time High

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Iconic globe at Universal Studios Hollywood

Credit: Universal

Comcast Corporation, the parent company of Universal Parks and Resorts, topped Wall Street earnings expectations for the fourth quarter of 2022 and reported adjusted earnings per share of 82 cents on revenue of $30.55 billion and net income of $3.02 billion this morning.

three young Guests visiting Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal

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Business couldn’t be any better for Universal Parks and Resorts. The financial results for 2022 show that Universal is taking names and cashing checks.

The numbers within the numbers reported show that Universal’s theme parks posted their highest adjusted earnings in their history at the end of last year, according to parent company Comcast.

Universal’s theme parks reported segment revenues of $7.5 billion in 2022, up almost 50% over the previous year, with revenue up 12%, to 2.1 billion in the fourth quarter. Adjusted EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] was up to $2.7 billion in 2022, doubling from levels the company had in 2021 and rising 16% to $782 million in the fourth quarter.

Universal said that the strong performance they experienced last year was attributed to attendance levels that surpassed pre-pandemic levels in Orlando, Hollywood, and Osaka. Company executives have stated that they believe the increased attendance figures will continue in 2023.

Jurassic Park entrance gate at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Discover Universal Blog

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in response to the results, “We are seeing some exciting demand to start the year.”

Universal recently announced two new amusement park projects: a family-focused park in suburban Dallas and a year-round horror attraction in Las Vegas. In addition, Super Nintendo World will open officially at Universal Studios Hollywood next month, and work will continue on the Epic Universe theme park and new south campus at the Universal Orlando Resort for a 2025 debut.

The one slight negative for the company for 2022 was that costs did increase last year due to Universal’s aggressive expansion plans. The company would state that “NBCUniversal’s capital expenditures increased 82.6% to $916 million, reflecting increased investment in constructing the Epic Universe theme park in Orlando, which is scheduled to open in 2025.” These figures are expected to increase in 2023. Comcast President Mike Cavanagh said in the earnings release, “In 2023, we expect Parks capex to increase by around $1.2 billion over last year as we continue to build Epic, which we plan to open in 2025 and begin work on our recently announced park extensions mentioned earlier. The required investment in developing these extensions is nowhere near the scale of Epic or Universal Beijing, but rather enables us to leverage our already large market opportunity and could serve as a model that contributes even higher growth at theme parks in the future.”

Are you surprised that Universal Parks and Resorts doubled its profits last year?

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