SeaWorld has battled bad publicity since the release of CNN’s controversial documentary Blackfish early last year. And you'd think after Willie Nelson and other celebrities spoke out against the theme park giant, that the company's numbers would be hurting. But the opposite happened: SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced Monday it expects the company's 2013 revenue to be a record $1.46 billion when it officially reports fourth-quarter earnings in March.
Attendance is also at a record-breaking high; of the company's 11 theme parks, the three in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio combined had the best turn out in the October-through-December quarter.
"We are very pleased with our fourth-quarter performance, particularly for the SeaWorld-branded parks in Orlando and San Diego, which helped us to achieve record revenue for the year," SeaWorld President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison said in a prepared statement.
Given the success of the early earnings preview, SeaWorld hopes to challenge those who believe the company has been stunted by backlash from the documentary, and maintains that the film is inaccurate and misleading.
Read more about the controversy in "The Killer in the Pool," the story behind the Blackfish documentary.