SeaWorld’s revenues OK despite ‘Blackfish’ film

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SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said Monday it expects to report 2013 revenue of about $1.46 billion for the year, which it says would mark an annual record for the theme park operator.

SeaWorld said the results were driven by record fourth-quarter attendance at its parks in San Diego, Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas.

The Orlando-based company made the announcement amid increased scrutiny of its business after the critical documentary “Blackfish”, which was released last year. The movie explores what may have caused a 12,000-pound orca named Tilikum to kill veteran SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Brancheau was a native of Cedar Lake, Ind.

The documentary argues that killer whales, when in captivity, become more aggressive to humans and each other.

The movie raised some concerns that attendance at its park would suffer and prompted several recording artists to pull out of a concert series at one of its parks.

SeaWorld has defended its practices and characterized the film in a statement this summer as “shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate.”

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