A Theme Park Gold Mine: The Comcast/Time Warner Experience

Among the things that Comcast own are, as of January 2001 when they acquired a 51% majority stake in media conglomerate NBCUniversal followed by the remaining 49% in March 2013, the Universal Parks and Resorts.

It's just after 4am in the UK. It's a Thursday. And my smartphone just bleeped with a news alert.

To be really honest, I'm not exactly over the moon as it woke me up but I check it anyway.

"Reports Comcast will announce a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal worth more than $45 billion that will unite the biggest and second largest cable television operators in the country".

A 'business maths' news text alert at 4am - it's the exact polar opposite of a booty call from Jennifer Lawrence in the hotness stakes.

So, the largest and the second largest cable operators in the US are merging. That's interesting.

Aside from being the wizards that put pictures on your TV just for a second, Time Warner own a hell of a lot of sweet properties across TV and film.

Then it hits me again. The nerdgasm.

Among the things that Comcast own are, as of January 2001 when they acquired a 51% majority stake in media conglomerate NBCUniversal followed by the remaining 49% in March 2013, the Universal Parks and Resorts.

We're talking theme parks, big ones.

Universal Studios in Orlando and Los Angeles already, between them, boast attractions based on huge franchises including Harry Potter - a Warner Bro property, Transformers, Despicable Me, Men In Black, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man - the list goes on. Then there are parks in Singapore and Japan too.

But this deal with Time Warner takes this to a whole new level and makes so many other huge commercial and pop culture quantities fair game for conversion into theme park attractions. You want bums on seats? They'll get asses by the masses.

Time Warner - and subject to the deal going through, now Comcast - have HBO. HBO has Game Of Thrones. Surely, in a world where the creative geniuses at Disney are creating an Avatar theme park and expanding the license-to-print-money Star Wars universe within their parks, a Game of Thrones themed attraction, world or park from the beyond brilliant minds behind the scenes at Universal Parks and Resorts must be more of a sure thing than scales on a dragon?

Already used as part of their Halloween Horror Nights events, The Walking Dead - one of the most successful shows in US cable TV history - is an obvious choice for conversion into a live action zombie apocalypse themed attraction. Having experienced first-hand the underwear-browning terror of the HHN events in Orlando on more than one occasion (I am a glutton for awesome yet terrifying punishment) I have absolutely no doubts that would be a huge crowd pleaser, severed hands down.

That's not all. Movies, lots and lots of HUGE movies.

The Lego Movie had a massive, record-making opening weekend in the US and looks set to repeat that success at the international/non-domestic box office too. To not turn that, with a sequel pretty much a shoo-in, into a theme park attraction, or series of attractions, would be madness.

Warner have huge movies coming out in the foreseeable future including Godzilla - another property which, if a box office hit, would be another property rife for conversion into a ride experience along the lines of the Jaws, King Kong, Back To The Future, Transformers or The Mummy attractions that Universal Parks and Resorts have already had huge success with.

We haven't even covered off the massive potential for Batman, Superman and Justice League coming to life across the theme park portfolio. The possibilities there alone are endless.

And then there's the little matter of The Hobbit. The third film in the series (I daren't use the term franchise for this one...), There and Back Again, is due to hit cinemas in December this year, into a multiplex sandpit that has already earned $2 billion, give or take, at the box office so far thanks to The Desolation of Smaug and The Unexpected Journey.

Surely a Hobbit themed world within an already existing theme park would be a sure thing? But even more than that, the property would lend itself beyond perfectly to an entire theme park that brings The Hobbit movies, as well as the three The Lord Of The Rings movies, to life in a way that even the most hardcore fan of the films and books could imagine in their wildest dreams.

Now you're Tolkien.

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