Bard is boffo after all these years

Tonys Preview: The Box Office

For a couple of months last summer, you could see Al Pacino free of charge in the Shakespeare in the Park staging of “The Merchant of Venice.” But that didn’t stop Broadwaygoers in the autumn from happily shelling out top dollar for the chance to see the actor in the pound-of-flesh. The commercial transfer of “Merchant” easily led the pack of plays this season, regularly posting weekly sales of more than $1 million.

The production’s $14.5 million cum for 14 weeks compared nicely with last season’s two big starry dramas: “Fences” with Denzel Washington, which grossed $11.8 million for 12 weeks, and “A Steady Rain” with Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman, which grossed $15.2 million for 12 weeks.

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