Construction of Universal's Epic Universe Delayed, Among Others

Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, Universal Parks and Resorts has made the decision to halt the construction of Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park, Epic Universe, which was originally scheduled to open in 2023.

In a report by Travel Weekly, CEO of parent company Comcast Corp., Brian Roberts, spoke on the state of current and future parks during Comcast’s Q1 earnings call. Roberts stated the construction at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has also been delayed. The theme park was originally scheduled to open this summer and is now expected to be pushed back a few months.

On a more positive note, Universal’s new theme park in Beijing is expected to open on schedule in the spring of next year.

Although all of Universal’s parks are currently closed, Roberts is looking at the future optimistically.

“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.”

Comcast reported that theme park revenue was down 31.9 percent to $869 million in the first quarter. If we see no change among the spreading of the coronavirus, parks could remain closed through the entire second quarter, resulting in a $500 million loss.

When asked what capacity would be needed for the parks to break even, CFO Michael Cavanagh said typically 50 percent, but any capacity is better than a complete closure.

Cavanagh also stated that visitor safety is a top priority and Universal will not push attendance when the parks do reopen.

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