Last-chance sales help box office
Broadway saw a second frame of holiday bounty last week, with a mid-week New Year’s helping to keep biz on par with the Christmas sesh.Total box office also was helped along by last-chance sales at the nine — count ‘em, nine — productions that shuttered Sunday. As in the prior frame, there were 11 shows earning more than $1 million each last week, with “Wicked” ($1,769,489) leading a pack that included new entries like “Billy Elliot” ($1,358,454) and “Shrek the Musical” ($1,268,342) as well as such old faves as “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,188,823). Not only did “Shrek” post its best week so far, but 7-year-old “Mamma Mia!” ($1,261,938), pumped by the media profile of the recent hit pic, also logged a show record for an eight-perf week. With Rialto cume for 31 shows hitting $25.7 million — up about $400,000 from the prior frame’s total — holiday box office looks better than it did last week. The Christmas frame’s $25.3 million tally didn’t hit the same heights as the $28.3 million bonanza in 2007, but for that year and the previous annum, sales were concentrated over a single sesh because the holidays fell during the week. This winter, with both Christmas and New Year’s landing in the middle of consecutive weeks, sales remained high, as opposed to the dips of nearly $8 million logged between the same two weeks in 2007 and the year before it. Compared with the same two-week year-end period in 2007, 2008 holiday grosses were actually up about 4%, with attendance down by a minor 3%. (None of these numbers include estimates for the closing week of “Young Frankenstein,” which came in at around $860,000.) Among the slew of closing shows, “Hairspray” (up $120,000 to $921,534) was the strongest performer, although the biggest jump of week was posted by “13” ($655,655), rising $180,000 in a nine-perf frame. “Boeing-Boeing” ($450,912) gained about $90,000. Another shuttered offering, “White Christmas” ($869,936), sank by a dramatic $540,000 — in part because the show played only seven perfs last week, and in part because the tuner’s titular holiday had happened the week before last. “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($1,068,657), “All My Sons” ($713,678), “Spring Awakening” ($679,434) and “Equus” ($605,705) also rose more than $100,000 each. Only new production to join the ranks was the Manhattan Theater Club staging of “The American Plan,” which brought in $75,190 in its first four previews. In addition to the nine shows calling it quits last week, more will depart throughout the month. Next up: “Spamalot” and “Gypsy,” both shuttering Jan. 11.