Halloween haunts theater business

Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway sales took a tumble in Week 23 (Oct. 27-Nov. 2), with Halloween on Friday, the Gotham marathon on Sunday and the imminent presidential election all conspiring to distract potential auds from the box office.

Legiters had seen the perfect storm of interference coming and were prepped for the slide. Receipts fell about $1.5 million to $15.7 million for 30 shows on the boards (or $16.2 million including estimates for “Young Frankenstein”).

Still, there were bright spots. The well-reviewed revival of “Speed-the-Plow” ($487,412), for instance, didn’t slow a bit, rising by nearly $75,000. Toplined by Jeremy Piven, “Speed” joins a list of other star-driven revivals — “All My Sons” ($718,832), “Equus” ($512,715) and “The Seagull” ($498,712) — to post strong tallies this season for nonmusical fare.

Also gaining ground was “Billy Elliot” ($981,223), playing its first eight-perf week of previews to an aud capacity of about 84%.

Elsewhere along the Rialto, however, dips prevailed. Six-figure drops were not uncommon, including at “In the Heights” ($640,915), “The Little Mermaid” ($600,202), “Gypsy” ($539,737), “Mary Poppins” ($537,384), “August: Osage County” ($331,628) and “Avenue Q” (sinking to a low $203,229), among others.

“Chicago” ($448,504) and “A Tale of Two Cities” ($303,755) posted losses in the high five-figure range.

Among the previewing shows (besides “Billy”), “American Buffalo” ($124,412) played its initial four perfs and “Dividing the Estate” ($198,239) had its first full week on the boards.

Industry watchers expect unstable box office over the coming week as well. That’s due to the recent clock switchover at the end of daylight saving time, which every year reliably throws off sales — although no one quite understands why.

The 20 musicals grossed $11,955,425 for 76.4% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 149,557 at 71.8% capacity and average paid admission of $79.94.

The 10 plays grossed $3,701,204 for 23.6% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 53,947 at 81.9% capacity and average paid admission of $68.61.

Average paid admission was $76.94 for all shows.

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