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By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 25, 2003 01:00 PM
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It sure pays to be Steven Spielberg — in fact, it pays about 2 percent of the gross on Universal Studios’ theme parks in Orlando, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It’s all part of a highly lucrative deal the filmmaker has scored as a consultant for Universal, through which he receives a commission for everything that the parks take in — from concessions to ticket sales, says the Times. (Adult admission to the parks is in the $50 range.)

A spokesman for the director would not comment on the Times story, nor would Universal. But it was confirmed that he has served as a paid consultant on all of Universal’s parks. (Besides the Orlando properties, there is the original studio and theme park in North Hollywood, Calif., as well as a studio park in Tokyo.)

Spielberg’s financial involvement has come to light because Universal’s French-based corporate parent, Vivendi Universal, is in the process of selling off its American assets, including Universal Studios.

Some business reporters are even speculating that the studio and the theme parks may even end up with different owners.

The Times estimates that Spielberg’s deal, which was brokered years ago, could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars as time goes by. Earlier this month, Forbes magazine placed his estimated earnings for 2002 at $200 million.

The filmmaker’s first major hit was for Universal in 1975, “Jaws.” Since then, movies he’s directed or produced for the company include “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park” and the “Back to the Future” series.