Steven Spielberg buyout clause weighs on Universal refinancing

Full story: Orlando Sentinel

A s Universal Orlando works to beat an April 1 , 2010, deadline to refinance nearly $1 billion of debt, the obstacles include not only general turmoil in the credit markets but also a clause in Universal's consulting contract with Steven Spielberg that as of June 2010 allows the world-famous director-producer to demand a potentially lucrative ...

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Eaglecoach

United States

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#1
Apr 9, 2009
 
Maybe he would loan the OCPS some money as he is doing better than them
Slimey Republican

Clermont, FL

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#2
Apr 9, 2009
 
Universal need to develop stuff and reinvest more at the park here instead of opening parks overseas. Especially in hell holes like Dubai or Singapore.
Carrie

Wildwood, FL

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#3
Apr 9, 2009
 
"Universal need to develop stuff and reinvest more at the park here"?????

What the heck do you call Rip Ride and Rockit or Harry Potter Land? Do you not feel that the millions of dollars they are spending on those 2 attractions is enough??? Meanwhile, Disney charges more and is not building a damn thing.. go figure. Make sure you know your facts before you post!!!
What

Denver, CO

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#4
Apr 9, 2009
 
I am a Disney fan and in the interest of getting your facts straight these are new or refurbished attractions that were recently (last four years) completed (as far as I can remember):
Animal Kingdom: Nemo the musical, Expedition Everest
Epcot: Spaceship Earth (refurb), Kim Possible Adventure
Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion (refurb), Monsters Comedy Laugh Floor,
Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Ride, Extreme Stunt Show, American Idol Experience
Jack

West Palm Beach, FL

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#5
Apr 9, 2009
 
Gee, maybe they ought to rename the place, "Spielberg Land"

Since: Aug 08

Winter Springs, FL

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#6
Apr 9, 2009
 
What wrote:
I am a Disney fan and in the interest of getting your facts straight these are new or refurbished attractions that were recently (last four years) completed (as far as I can remember):
Animal Kingdom: Nemo the musical, Expedition Everest
Epcot: Spaceship Earth (refurb), Kim Possible Adventure
Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion (refurb), Monsters Comedy Laugh Floor,
Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Ride, Extreme Stunt Show, American Idol Experience
At Epcot they opened that Trip to Mars ride, Soaring at the Land pavilion, The Seas pavilion was turned into a Nemo attraction, the Mexico pacilion boat ride was changed to a Three Caballeros ride.

Hollywod Studios has a Playhouse Dysney show and a few other updates to other shows.

Magic Kingdom has Buzz Lightyear and Stitch rides, the Pirates boat ride was updated to match the movies, the new Fairies attraction, the Hall of Presidents is being updated.

And Universal added stuff to the Dr. Seuss area, but they eliminated the Triceratops encounter which my kids loved. The changed Back to the Future to the Simpsons and updated Earthquake to Disaster and Hanna Barbera became Jimmy Neutron, they added Barney behing the Fievel playground, but they eliminated the Nickleodeon studio which was where Blue Man and the new coaster are going up.

I say they keep trying to make changes, some for the better, some not, but you can't please everybody!
Jack

West Palm Beach, FL

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#7
Apr 9, 2009
 
... just brain storming, with all of those Spielberg attractions in two different parks, maybe they ought to rename it, "Steve Spielberg World". I don't know. Steve's good, but it just doesn't have the same ring as "Walt Disney World."
Brendan

Sanford, FL

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#8
Apr 9, 2009
 
Carrie wrote:
Meanwhile, Disney charges more and is not building a damn thing.. go figure. Make sure you know your facts before you post!!!
Though it's already been commented on, Disney is also refurbishing Space Mountain this year, and is rumored to be developing a Monsters, Inc.-themed ride for Hollywood Studios in the near future. So I wouldn't say they're "not buiding a damn thing".

Plus, one-day ticket prices for Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld are always comparable, currently hovering at $75. You should also know your facts before posting.
Floridadude

Windermere, FL

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#9
Apr 9, 2009
 
Trouble with Universal is that the park is getting soooo stale. I know for us who live here we can say that and yea I know for tourists who never been there they find it kind of nice but I have even heard tourists complain that the Jaws thing, the Men and Black ride and even Twister are getting old school and they want something new and exciting. Trouble is that Universal has not had any hit movies to brag about in years...Maybe they can make a Fast and Furious ride?
Hooah

United States

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#11
Apr 9, 2009
 
Refurbs, at least to ME, don't count as building something new and exciting. Putting a fresh coat of paint on an attraction, putting flat screen TV's in the queues, or adding a new pirate in 3, or 4 scenes doesn't exactly make me want to break the sound barrier to get there.

But that's just me.

And before you jump all over me, I am not drinking "Hatorade" as I am a theme park junkie.

Universal, Disney SW, or Busch. I have annual passes to every one of them.
Po Boy

United States

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#12
Apr 9, 2009
 
Attendance is going to go down a lot, at all the theme parks this year.Millions are out of work and having their homes foreclosed. And the economy is still getting worse every day.The recent layoffs at Disney are just the beginning. Does anyone believe that a trip to a theme park is not, going to be cut out.
Brendan

Sanford, FL

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#13
Apr 9, 2009
 
Hooah wrote:
Refurbs, at least to ME, don't count as building something new and exciting. Putting a fresh coat of paint on an attraction, putting flat screen TV's in the queues, or adding a new pirate in 3, or 4 scenes doesn't exactly make me want to break the sound barrier to get there.
But that's just me.
In some cases, you've got a point. New paint, flat screens, etc. are more of a "freshening-up", rather than a full on refurb. However, to see evidence of a genuine refurbishment of a ride that makes a whole new experience, look at Disneyland's Space Mountain in California. That ride was originally very similar to ours here, but with the refurb it leaves ours in the dust. New lights, sounds, music, and technology make that ride really amazing. Unfortunately, ours isn't gonna look like theirs when it's done; I believe ours is undergoing more of a freshen-up. Oh well.
Cathy

Orlando, FL

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#14
Apr 9, 2009
 
Some guy writes some stupid movies and gets paid millions to let people 'ride' them. Seems dumb to me. I know it's a 'theme' park but I'd rather pay less and just enjoy the rides. I don't care about a theme especially when it costs that much. There is definitely something wrong with our society when one can make so much. So no one else could write a movie about a big shark or an alien???? I think those were his movies but I don't really know...or care!
Keith

Sterling Heights, MI

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#15
Apr 9, 2009
 
You can compare one park attractions to another parks attractions but fact is, Universal tends to hide from their own history – whereas, Disney cherishes its history.

FYI – Walt Disney himself worked for Universal Studios many years ago, before he created his own company.

Anyway – I love The Simpsons, as well as the idea of Harry Potter Land. But I often wonder if that is Universal related? If you ask any Universal Team Member, I doubt they would even know who is the creator of Universal Studios. Or would they also know the idea of a Universal theme park started with the King Kong attraction back in the 80s?

Universal is trailing further away from their own history. It’s not so much that they don’t have any recent hits or draws. They don’t even care about their history anymore.

As for Spielberg World – the man WAS a huge part of the history of Universal – from Sugarland Express/Jaws/E.T, all the way down to Jurassic Park/Schindler’s List/Munich. Though, I do wonder if the DreamWorks/Disney team has anything to do with THIS?

It would be nice to see a fresh coat of paint (it’s sad when you start noticing peeled paint waiting in line for Spiderman). E.T. could be fresh again, with NEW animotronics (same goes with JP). They have enough space in Jurassic Park to maybe create a simulator.

Would be cool to see like a Universal museum or library somewhere in City Walk or Universal entrance. They should also go back to their back-catalogue and cherry pick their own titles. The Simpsons Ride is a fantastic satire, and does fit with the Universal theming well – but it’s not UNIVERSAL. Some have suggested Fast and the Furious. I suggest a Serenity-related simulator. They could change the Van Helsing set in Horror-Makeup Show to EITHER an upcoming movie ORRRRR a classic horror movie set/bone-yard (though, Monster Café does a great job at that). I thought The Thing haunted house was great a couple of years ago. They should’ve transported Horror Makeup Show into something like The Thing attraction.

And there is just the concept of making things digital. Flat-screen TVs in the queue lines of Spiderman/E.T./Jaws/Jurassic Park/and others that have TVs. Make the 3D print in T2 digital.

Instead of focusing on new attractions, it really doesn’t cost THAT MUCH to take one attraction a year (or every six months or so), and fix it up a bit. But we are talking about Universal Studios Orlando, here! I love the place. But I can’t pixie-dust the mediocre management that runs it down.
kizzy

Kissimmee, FL

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#16
Apr 9, 2009
 

Judged:

1

it's omomas fault
Are they nuts

Banning, CA

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#17
Apr 9, 2009
 
How can a company like Universal give so much of its revenue and power away to one person?
Universal would have done so much better by coming up with original content (Dino World) that it would hold the rights to and all that extra money could have gone into the local communities for projects and empowerment instead of to one persons bank account 3,000 miles away.
Universal is probably laying off local employees while funneling its earnings to the top 5 percent of the wealthiest people in the country who don't even have any stake in Orlando.
bolis

United States

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#18
Apr 9, 2009
 
I didn't notice any mention of how much dough he lost to Made-off. This may be driving his budget more than anything.
Brendan

Sanford, FL

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#19
Apr 9, 2009
 
Cathy wrote:
Some guy writes some stupid movies and gets paid millions to let people 'ride' them. Seems dumb to me. I know it's a 'theme' park but I'd rather pay less and just enjoy the rides. I don't care about a theme especially when it costs that much. There is definitely something wrong with our society when one can make so much. So no one else could write a movie about a big shark or an alien???? I think those were his movies but I don't really know...or care!
You can think it's "dumb" all you want. His movies have still made 3.8 billion dollars. It's sad to know that you think there's something wrong with a person benefiting from their talents.

So you don't want to pay for rides with themes? Then don't. That's why there are still carnivals left in the world.
Richard

Saint Cloud, FL

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#20
Apr 9, 2009
 
Keith wrote:
Universal is trailing further away from their own history. It’s not so much that they don’t have any recent hits or draws. They don’t even care about their history anymore.
The problem is, tourists don't care about that history. It didn't matter that Alfred Hitchcock was a filmmaking legend -- people weren't going to the Hitchcock show anymore, and those that were weren't enjoying it. Nobody remembers the movie Earthquake anymore, so a ride called "Earthquake" wasn't a big draw. I remember seeing the Humphrey Bogart character walking around the park and kids running after him shouting "Indiana Jones!!!" You can cling to your past or you can look to your future.
Amused

United States

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#21
Apr 9, 2009
 
The Spielberg contract is to Universal what the union contracts are to the Big Three auto makers.

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