After flirting with the idea for years, the Orlando-based theme-park operator will release a feature film this month through SeaWorld Pictures, the company's new film division. The sea-turtle documentary, expected to reach as many as 400 theaters this summer, is the first of what executives hope will be a long line of SeaWorld-produced nature films that capitalize on the company's reputation for marine-life expertise and buttress it against criticism from anti-captivity activists.
SeaWorld wants to make more than movies eventually. Company executives say they are exploring new projects in television, publishing and consumer products.
At the same time, SeaWorld is working on plans to build its first hotel. And it says it is making progress toward its first international theme park, with the most likely location somewhere in Southeast Asia.