SeaWorld: Fallout from captive killer whales documentary hurt profits

This article is more than 12 months old

A documentary about the treatment of captive killer whales at amusement parks has slayed part of SeaWorld's profits.

And the fallout extends to movies like the sequel to Finding Nemo - with creators changing its ending.

The negative impact comes on the heels of the 2013 title Blackfish, which focuses on orca whale Tilikum at a SeaWorld Park in Orlando.

Tilikum had been involved in the deaths of three people, including a 40-year-old trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in 2010.

The documentary suggested the violence was due to its captivity.


The film's release and airing on CNN late last year sparked widespread protests against SeaWorld's treatment of the whales.

Artistes like Willie Nelson and Trisha Yearwood, who were slated to perform at the park, cancelled their performances. 

A member of the State Assembly also proposed legislation to outlaw orca performance in California.

Finding Nemo sequel's ending changed

Blackfish has not only impacted SeaWorld.

The sequel to popular animated movie Finding Nemo has also been affected.

The ending to the upcoming Finding Dory was revised after Pixar's creators saw the film and spoke with Blackfish's director Gabriela Cowperthwaite.

The depiction of a marine park in the film has since been altered.

Earnings and attendance fell

James Atchison, the SeaWorld chief executive and president, admitted for the first time that the public attention caused attendance for SeaWorld's parks to fall.

Previously, Atchison had denied any negative repercussions from the movie, despite 21 million viewers tuning in on CNN. He said the movie had created more interest in marine mammal parks.

SeaWorld's shares have since tumbled 33 per cent, since it forecast a 6-7 per cent decline in revenue.

Sources: The Guardian, Chicago Tribune