Box office continued to slide last week
Ah, late January: Just when Broadway sales are looking down, they manage to slide a little lower.
Individual productions across the board logged box office dips of varying sizes in the latest edition of the Rialto’s annual post-holiday doldrums, with some dropping as much as 25% from the prior frame. Total sales slid $3.3 million to $14.2 million for 23 shows on the boards.
Several productions pulled in unusually low numbers given their previous track records, including “South Pacific” ($582,061) and “Hair” (“$524,882), two successful revivals whose steadily robust biz has begun to waver recently.
“Mary Poppins” ($559,762), “Rock of Ages” ($498,409) and “Chicago” ($366,154) were all also among the shows to drop notably, with “West Side Story” ($833,364) off by nearly $200,000. New tuner “Fela!” ($538,915) also felt the January chill, although seems likely to warm up when the auds return to the Rialto.
“A View from the Bridge” ($537,078) was down during a week that accommodated press previews and the opening night perf, but those receipts seem likely to pick up now that reviews for the show, which opened Sunday, have proved strong. New play “Race” ($479,594) also was down but seemed relatively solid compared to “God of Carnage” ($395,140), dipping below the $400,000 mark for the first time in months.
“In the Heights” ($493,716) also fell by a hefty chunk, although that show hopes to gain steam again when “High School Musical” star Corbin Bleu steps in this week.
The only offering to buck the downward trend was the Roundabout’s revival of “Present Laughter” ($247,538), rising about 10% in the wake of mixed reviews. “A Little Night Music” ($928,670) stayed healthy, playing to auds at 99.2% of capacity, the highest percentage of the week.
“Bye Bye Birdie” ($533,658), which closed last week, missed out on a last-minute sales spike, remaining about on par with the previous sesh.
Although the season cume ($692.2 million) has now surpassed last season’s at this time ($689.6 million), it’s worth pointing out that cumulative attendance is lagging, with this year’s 7.9 million trailing last season’s 8.2 million.