Summer slowdown snags box office

Box office began its usual late-summer slowdown in Week 12 (Aug. 13-19), as the majority of individual shows on the boards posted dips, while many productions reporting rises could generally attribute them to imminent closings.

Recent opener “Bring It On” ($508,052) had perhaps the most cause for optimism, as sales upticked by 7%. With the show having recently extended through the end of the year, that kind of buck-the-trend rise could indicate growing momentum for the cheerleader tuner.

The largest drops were attributable to top shows that had expanded their number of weekly performances returning to the normal eight-perf standard, resulting in a $260,000 falloff for “The Lion King” ($1,958,780) and a $325,000 slowdown for “Wicked” ($1,818,537).

The Broadway cume sank $1.2 million to $20.9 million for the 24 shows on the boards. Attendance was down by 10,000 to 208,499 — and was also off by about the same amount compared with the same week in 2011. Overall audience capacity, though, came in at a not-bad 83%.

While the sales figures weren’t much to get excited about, at least legiters could be prepared for the slowdown. Box office usually begins to slide just prior to the severe doldrums that hit sales in the weeks immediately following Labor Day.

The 18 musicals grossed $17,963,085 for 86.1% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 172,427 and an average paid admission of $104.18.

The six plays grossed $2,892,020 for 13.9% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 36,072 and an average paid admission of $80.17.

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