The new Mel Brooks tuner “Young Frankenstein” is racking up monster advance sales said to have hit $30 million — and ruffling Rialto feathers along the way.
That rumored $30 million tops the $20 million of Brooks’ mega-hit “The Producers,” although it hasn’t displaced the record-setting $37.5 million advance in 1994 for tuner “Sunset Boulevard” — yet.
But with “Frankenstein” producers refusing to report the show’s weekly grosses, the issue of how much money “Frank” may (or may not) be making has stirred the ire of many legiters.
Some producers already took the premium-pricing policy of “Frankenstein” — with a $450 top ticket, $100 more than any other show on the boards — as a mark of greed and arrogance for a show that hadn’t even started previews. To many, the decision to keep sales figures mum seemed another slap in the face to a small community that has always done things another way.
So there was an opportunity for a little schadenfreude in the fact that you can pick up a pair of tickets to most performances for the week of Oct. 22 on second-party vendor TicketsNow.com — a potential indicator of a vendor’s inability to offload inventory snapped up when tickets went on sale.
Some folks also are griping about the number of seats in the Hilton Theater being offered at premium prices. Anyone looking for a non-premium, $120 ticket to the show in January or February is mostly relegated to a choice of pairs on the far sides of the orchestra.
Which might suggest that “Frankenstein” producers are waiting to see if they can get premium prices on the widest possible expanse of seating (rather than the front-and-center block allocated at most shows) before marking them down to the non-premium $120.
In any case, don’t get legiters started on how “Frankenstein” should be ranked in weekly listings of Broadway grosses. Can it command a place in the top 10 when figures are being gathered from unofficial sources and producers won’t cop to exactly how much they’re making — or not making?
Variety will continue to report “Frankenstein” estimates; they’ll be listed separately from official grosses charts.