Box office numbers continue to slide
It’s not springtime on Broadway just yet, with B.O. for most shows continuing to slide from the Presidents’ Day weekend spike.Total sales were down more than $3 million to $14.8 million for 32 shows reporting. Estimated grosses for “Young Frankenstein,” which slipped to $971,000, bring the cume up to about $15.8 million. In the good news department, the generally deflated receipts mean that two strong-selling plays, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($621,154) and “August: Osage County” ($520,824), managed to secure spots in the Top 10, where straight plays are more often crowded out by robust tuner sales. Lincoln Center Theater’s much-anticipated revival of “South Pacific” ($154,065) played its first two previews, registering a paid attendance of 95% of capacity — about the same as “Jersey Boys” ($1,056,150) but just behind perennially packed “Wicked” ($1,360,610). Another revival, “Sunday in the Park With George” ($419,366) rose by about $70,000, benefiting from the glowing reviews it received a couple of weeks ago. “Come Back, Little Sheba” ($222,041) was up slightly, registering its highest-grossing frame so far, while “The Farnsworth Invention” ($251,861) climbed about $20,000 in its last week on the boards. Meanwhile, biz at the well-reviewed new tuner “Passing Strange” climbed by 44% — although that brought the still-floundering musical’s weekly total up to just $118,100. Most other offerings on the street took a downturn, with the hardest hit being the family-friendly musicals most affected by seasonal tourism trends. After an unusually strong week, “The Little Mermaid” ($832,619) sank by nearly $300,000, with “Hairspray” ($502,689) and “Legally Blonde” ($493,050) also losing between 25% and 30% of week-to-week biz. “Xanadu” ($162,634) sank below the $200,000 mark. Judging from prior seasons, shows may have to hold out a few more weeks to feel as if the winter chill has finally lifted. In recent years, it was not until mid-March that the real spring upswing began.
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