Sales spike in spring holiday frame
A spring holiday week that included Passover and Easter added up to major Broadway B.O., with sales shooting up at the majority of shows and a full 11 productions pulling in weekly receipts of more than $1 million each.
In a rare turn of events, “The Lion King” ($1,911,078) outpaced “Wicked” ($1,843,855) for the top spot, repping a particularly strong showing for a production as far along in its run as the 13 1/2-year-old “Lion King.”
Other than “Lion King,” the most recent production to pull ahead, however briefly, of perennial top dog “Wicked” was “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” another tuner helmed by Julie Taymor (at least until recently).
The other current Main Stem production from Disney Theatrical, “Mary Poppins” ($1,452,298), also had a strong week, a common occurrence in frames when tourists and holiday visitors swarm the city.
Not one but two shows rose by more than half a million dollars each: In its final week on the boards, “American Idiot” ($1,355,740) benefitted from last-minute biz as well as the toplining stint of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, while “The Addams Family” ($1,187,771) jumped by some $525,000 over the prior sesh.
Meanwhile, two productions of a more recent vintage, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($1,150,953) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,014,228, a house record at the O’Neill Theater), each joined the millionaires’ club for the first time last week.
A little further down the B.O. ladder, “Wonderland” ($900,426) climbed more than 91% over the prior frame, in direct defiance of the downbeat reviews the tuner recently earned. The long-running “Chicago” ($903,226) also pulled in unusually strong numbers, thanks in part to well-publicized new cast addition Christie Brinkley.
Among plays, “War Horse” ($798,525) was the top draw, although boosted by good notices and star Chris Rock, “The Motherfucker With the Hat” ($621,266) saw sales step up to come in a bit ahead of fellow star-driven play, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” ($605,321) with Robin Williams. Meanwhile, Brit hit “Jerusalem” ($341,739) managed to rise in its heavily comped opening week.
One show, “High” ($106,023), shuttered with the same low sales that have plagued it all along, while “The Normal Heart” ($130,853) started slow in a full week of eight previews.
Overall Broadway cume hit $28.8 million for 38 shows now playing, with attendance topping 90%.