Craig, Jackman storm in; box office dips
Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman starrer “A Steady Rain” officially kicked off its rainmaking last week, with the first five perfs of the show racking up a total of $767,663.That’s an average ticket price of more than $140 — an early indicator of how high demand and premium ticket sales will drive up revenue, just as they did for Julia Roberts starrer “Three Days of Rain” in 2006. “Steady Rain” wasn’t the only new production adding coin to the pot. The Roundabout’s revival of “Bye Bye Birdie” pulled in $346,029 for five perfs, although the near-capacity crowds didn’t result in monster box office tallies thanks in part to the nonprofit org’s lower pricing for subscribers and preview auds. The Brit import of “Hamlet” starring Jude Law played two perfs, tallying a healthy $236,145 and playing to auds at just under 90% capacity. Plus there was “God of Carnage” ($874,694), returning from its late-summer hiatus to the same impressive sales the show logged during its earlier run. Production will alternate between seven and eight perfs per frame, with the show playing seven last week. Even with all that new money rolling in, however, total Broadway sales slipped a bit — thanks to the annual post-Labor Day tumble, which hit nearly every other show running. “Shrek the Musical” ($438,209), once again fluctuating wildly with shifts in tourist traffic, dropped a whopping $350,000 (45%) and filled houses to just less than 50% of capacity. “Mary Poppins” ($538,063) slid nearly $260,000, and “In the Heights” ($588,094) was laid low by almost $190,000. Most shows saw grosses dip by double-digit percentages, with “Billy Elliot” ($1,375,553) and longtime stalwarts “Mamma Mia” ($920,797) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($768,270) among the productions to wobble the least. “Avenue Q” ($477,496) slid a bit in its last week on Broadway. Overall Main Stem cume fell about $400,000 to $15.4 million for 22 shows on the boards. That’s higher than last year at this time; the 2008 frame posted $13.8 million for 25 shows running (not including “Young Frankenstein,” which did not release sales figures) — although last year, producers were reporting “net gross” as opposed to the higher “gross gross.” Attendance slid to about 170,000, which is about on par with the week immediately following Labor Day weekend in 2008 (not counting the unreported crowds at “Frankenstein”).