New shows boost box office across board
New-season momentum kicked up a notch on Broadway last week as box office jumped 15% to $20,633,375, with almost every show on the boards posting at least modest gains.Having already established a new high for weekly gross of a non-musical production, “A Steady Rain” topped that achievement with another record in its best week yet. Powerhouse pair Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman pulled in $1,276,106 for the cop drama, whose whopping average ticket price of $147 suggests a lot of premium seats are being sold. The play landed in the No. 4 spot, behind perennial champs “Wicked,” “Billy Elliot” and “The Lion King.” Despite mixed reviews, London import “Hamlet,” starring Jude Law, climbed 14% to $710,225, a promising result for a session that included the comp-heavy opening night and two post-opening press shows. Reports coming out of the Broadhurst Theater indicate a younger-than-usual audience for Shakespeare, with many believed to be encountering the depressed Dane for the first time. Also opening to mixed notices was David Mamet power play “Oleanna,” its $283,245 gross definitely showing room for improvement. Manhattan Theater Club’s revival of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s 1927 farce about a New York theatrical dynasty, “The Royal Family,” found more favor with critics, rising by 15% to a still-modest $199,663. In its first full week since opening to generally positive press, Carrie Fisher confessional “Wishful Drinking” showed a 58% hike to $356,915. Significant increases were registered by “Mary Poppins” (up 43% to $859,171), “Chicago” (up 33% to $707,294) and “Shrek” (up 31% to $670,006), indicating a boost in tourist traffic for the Columbus Day weekend. “The Lion King” ($1,413,511), “In the Heights” ($777,991), previewing tuner “Memphis” ($478,475) and “The 39 Steps” ($244,730) also posted upticks of more than 20%. Joining the preview pack, tuner revival “Finian’s Rainbow” earned $224,754 for its first four perfs, while Neil Simon’s autobiographical “Brighton Beach Memoirs” wrapped its first full week with a low haul of $131,987. Stalwart season holdover “God of Carnage” dropped a show to play only seven perfs, accounting for its 8% dip to $895,161. Replacement casting is expected to be announced this week for when original quartet Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden finish out their extended run next month. Attendance for the week was 241,826 or 87.2% capacity overall, repping an 11% increase on the previous week. Grosses overall rose by $2.7 million.
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