Declines countered by momentum at holiday titles

A lot of individual Broadway shows slipped at the box office last week, but those losses were largely countered by early Yuletide gains by a pair of seasonal offerings.

Prior years have shown that holiday titles don’t hit their full sales potential until Christmas and the frames immediately preceding it, and “A Christmas Story” ($1,377,131) and “Elf” ($1,137,915) both seem to be sticking to the formula. Each show played an additional ninth perf last week in order to capitalize on the holiday’s time-sensitive sales, with “Christmas Story” rising by nearly $250,000.

A non-holiday offering, “Bring It On” ($536,398), got a nice boost too, possibly in anticipation of the show’s closing at the end of the month. Also pitching in new coin to the Main Stem cume were two new nonprofit outings, Manhattan Theater Club’s “The Other Place” ($163,000) and Roundabout Theater Company’s “Picnic” ($101,587 for five previews), both generating unsurprisingly modest sales in a tourist-fueled window when tuner spectacles tend to dominate over nonmusical offerings.

Those two newbies weren’t the only plays having trouble grabbing auds, with Katie Holmes topliner “Dead Accounts” ($337,545) down 23% and Jessica Chastain starrer “The Heiress” ($450,505) and Paul Rudd outing “Grace” ($296,626) sliding 16% each. Short-lived David Mamet play “The Anarchist” ($268,824) couldn’t even pull in any last-minute biz, declining by some 20%.

Most of the individual dips at musicals on the boards were relatively minor, although a few of them stood out: “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($910,619), continuing its roller-coaster ride, dropped out of the millionaires’ club with a slide of $150,000, and sales at “Evita” ($810,297), down some $110,000 even with Ricky Martin playing all his skedded perfs, suggest producers may have been wise in opting to shutter in late January.

Still, there was enough business to keep the Top 10 entirely filled with million-plus earners, with “Wicked” ($1,866,094) wrestling the top spot away from “The Lion King” ($1,840,393). “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($1,224,543) continued to be the only play to post musical-sized numbers, thanks to the B.O. power of star Al Pacino.

Further down the chart, Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of “Golden Boy” ($295,970) proved the only other play to rise last week, powered by strong reviews in the wake of the show’s opening earlier this month.

Overall Broadway sales came in at $23,488,098 for 31 shows on the boards. Attendance, down slightly to 230,745, came in at 76% of overall capacity.

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