Back in February, Comcast (CMCSA) announced its acquisition of the remaining 49% of NBCUniversal from General Electric (GE). Since that time, Comcast has become one of the leading media companies in the United States. Through the acquisition, Comcast has gained valuable movie properties, Broadway musicals, and theme parks, that are powering revenue and earnings per share higher. Now, with the recent announcement for a fourth "Jurassic Park" movie, Comcast's future looks even brighter.
On June 12th, 2015, Universal will release "Jurassic World". The "Jurassic Park" franchise has seen several huge blockbusters, but has declined in popularity and revenue through the history of the trilogy. The fourth movie, which will also be released in 3D, will hope to resurrect the franchise back to its glory days. In 1993, the first "Jurassic Park" movie was released and became the highest grossing film of the year. Here is a look at how all three movies have fared:
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lost World (1997)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
As you can see, the box office results went down for each movie, as budget costs also went in the other direction. The first movie remains the 16th highest grossing film in North America and 13th in the world. Considering the first movie had a budget of $63 million, "Jurassic Park" became one of the most profitable movies ever made as well.
NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, will be betting heavily on a new plot to resurrect the film. The new title of "Jurassic World" leads one to believe it will have a more international feel. The addition of the movie being shown in 3D should boost box office revenue and easily make this movie fall somewhere between the total revenue of "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World".
Steven Spielberg returns as a producer on "Jurassic World". After directing the first two movies, Spielberg sat out the third movie and was minimally involved as the executive producer. It appears he will have more of a say on the plot and details for the fourth movie in the series.
The release of "Jurassic World" in 2015 will have a direct impact on several areas of Comcast's earnings. The release will help the company's filmed entertainment and theme park revenue. The launch could also boost the television segment if the company airs the previous three movies around the time the fourth movie hits the big screen.
The movie adds to an exciting movie lineup for 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Universal and subsidiaries will release "Fifty Shades of Grey", "Fast and Furious 7", and "Minions". In 2015, Universal will release "Ted 2", "Pitch Perfect 2", and "Jurassic World". "Ted" became one of the surprise releases for Universal last year. The movie was shot with a $50 million budget and grossed almost $600 million in worldwide box office revenue. The movie became the seventh highest grossing "R" rated movie.
"Jurassic World" will face heavy competition in 2015, in a crowded blockbuster lineup I have already highlighted. The movie will face off against movies like "Avengers 2", "Star Wars VII", "Terminator", and "Batman/Superman".
The release of "Jurassic World" will help the company's theme park business segment. There is a Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios in Orlando and Hollywood. In Orlando, the Universal Studios is expanding its Islands of Adventure area and may begin building new rides based on the movie. "Jurassic Park: The Ride" features a 50 foot Tyrannosaurus Rex and an 84 foot plunge.
Universal has not confirmed any new rides for the Jurassic Park area. However, The Daily City reports the area is under a major renovation. Photos show the midway area being moved to make room for more attractions inside the Jurassic Park area. Rumors also have new rides being built and planned out to open in time for the new movie.
Revenue for the segment increased 4.8% in fiscal 2012 thanks to new "Transformers" and "Harry Potter" exhibits. In the first six months of fiscal 2013, theme park revenue is up 5.9% to $1.0 billion. Operating cash flow for the theme park segment is also up 3.2%. In 2012, Universal City hosted a record 5.9 million visitors. With park expansion and a stronger focus on Harry Potter, the parks are all in for record attendance. I fully expect theme park attendance and revenue for Universal to also see large increases with a new expanded "Jurassic Park" area.
Comcast posted revenue of $62.6 billion in fiscal 2012, an increase of 12%. Earnings per share jumped 52% for the fiscal year. The company's cable segment was responsible for $39.6 billion of total revenue, an increase of 6.4%. Comcast's NBCUniversal division saw revenue jump 12.7% to $23.8 billion. Filmed entertainment revenue climbed 12.4% to $5.2 billion. Theme park revenue increased 4.8% to $2.1 billion.
Two other companies should be watched in the "Jurassic Park" mania. In 2013, "Jurassic Park" was re-released in theaters to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary. IMAX theaters (IMAX) showed the movie on their huge screens and saw big results. In the film's opening weekend, IMAX saw box office revenue of $6 million. This represented 32% of total domestic opening weekend box office and marked the highest market share of a wide release movie for IMAX. If IMAX can score the rights to the fourth movie, it should add to an already potential blockbuster and record breaking 2015 summer.
The other company to watch is toy maker Hasbro (HAS). Hasbro made several "Jurassic Park" toy lines for the previous movies. In 2013, the toy company released a 20th anniversary line for Toys "R" Us stores. The toys were released around the time of the big screen re-release. With new characters and theme parks possible, Hasbro could resurrect the toy line and see a revenue boost.
Time will tell if "Jurassic World" can fill the huge shoes worn by the original 1993 film. Fans of the franchise will remember "Jurassic Park III", which was not well received by fans or critics. In today's age, blockbuster movies need to post $250 to $300 million to be considered a hit. If "Jurassic World" can't come in this range, Comcast could see analysts' targets take a hit. My guess is the movie lives up to the hype.
Despite its large $114 billion market capitalization, Comcast can see its revenue, earnings, and share price boosted or negatively affected by a big release like this.