‘Salome’ shimmies, ‘Life’ sells on B’way

Pacino, Hunt, Banderas lead star-laden shows to profits

HOLLYWOOD — In a blessed break with Broadway tradition, the onset of daylight-saving time did not send B.O. plummeting. Only eight of the 31 shows on the boards experienced a decline in receipts. The total tally came to $13,229,912, up $674,348, or 7.08%, from the previous session.

The big news is no shocker: While overall box office is down from Aprils of the recent past, stars still sell tickets, no matter what the political or economic climate.

“Salome” ($176,094) with Al Pacino produced truly sexy numbers for its first three previews. Despite some downbeat reviews, “Life (x) 3,” starring Helen Hunt, had no problem securing the top-grossing play slot with $357,896, receipts up $68,701. Antonio Banderas starrer “Nine” ($508,594) fell just $23,080 despite all those opening-week press comps. Eddie Izzard’s name value, plus good reviews, has turned “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” ($241,916) into one of the Roundabout’s better-performing dramas: Overall B.O. rose $40,089 from the previous week.

In contrast to Pacino and Hunt, the much promoted “mystery guest” over at “The Play What I Wrote” ($175,779) is not packing them in. Receipts there dropped an ominous $20,425. Hopefully, those good reviews will perk up “A Year With Frog and Toad” ($88,272); its $505,074 gross potential looms far overhead.

Too bad Billy Joel isn’t appearing onstage. “Movin’ Out” ($511,599) ran counter to last week’s upward trend, taking a dip of $23,979. Off $4,407, Lincoln Center’s “Vincent in Brixton” ($172,976) continued to slow its B.O. pace.

Growing $112,012, “Man of La Mancha” ($475,122) managed the week’s biggest recovery. Up $17,071, “Take Me Out” ($176,347) finally broke its downward spiral but continues to underperform. Likewise, “Urban Cowboy” ($180,792) expanded $25,004, yet remains on the endangered list.

Under the top 10, most shows grew by five-figure sums from the previous sesh: “Aida” ($484,754), “Cabaret” ($312,826), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($486,799), “Rent” ($291,712), “Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam” ($94,900) and “Urinetown” ($238,425). There were smaller four-figure upticks for “Beauty and the Beast” ($471,193) and “Say Goodnight Gracie” ($92,923).

Shows in previews told a variety of stories: “Look of Love” ($224,953) put in its first full sked of eight perfs, as did “Enchanted April” ($136,009). Off $8,478, “Gypsy” ($593,994) performed only seven.

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