Holiday spurs the week's box office
Broadway perked up for Presidents’ Day, with the long weekend’s spike in tourist traffic pushing B.O. up by almost 30% compared to the prior frame.Also adding to the pot was the bow of two new offerings including “Death of a Salesman” ($613,569 for six perfs), the Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer that pulled in solid numbers for a first week and played to auds that approached 90% of capacity. The brief run of solo outing “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It” ($305,705 for six) also bowed, playing two previews and four regular perfs including opening. Except for “The Book of Mormon” ($1,473,606), which held steady, every single production on the boards reported gains, many of them significant. The heftiest chunk of change, of course, was pulled in at the top-ticket hits including “Wicked” ($1,903,024), “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,709,139) and “The Lion King” ($1,665,141), which climbed by more than $300,000 each. Buoyed in part by the increasing prevalence of premium pricing as well as Broadway’s consistently rising ticket prices across the board, “Wicked” came within spitting distance of the $2 million mark, an achievement that, in the olden days of a few years ago, used to be reserved for B.O.-busting major holidays such as Thanksgiving. A consistent indicator of the tourist tides of the Main Stem, “Mary Poppins” ($933,549) rose by 40%, while mid-charting tuners “Sister Act” ($674,710) and “Chicago” ($622,523) stepped up by more than 50% each. “The Phantom of the Opera” ($804,109), “Mamma Mia!” ($788,253) and “Memphis” ($700,497) also posted robust gains. Even some of the Street’s slower sellers benefitted, particularly play “Stick Fly” ($365,277). The number in itself wouldn’t turn heads, but compared to the previous sesh the tally was up by 86% in a bump also prodded by the imminent closing Feb. 26. Another production usually on the lower end of the chart, “Godspell” ($394,072), ascended 41%. Not all shows reported major gains, with productions including “Porgy and Bess” ($858,959) and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($739,615) seeing more moderate rises in sales. Overall Rialto cume climbed $4.4 million to $20.1 million for 26 shows on the boards. Attendance was up by 35,000 to almost 210,000, or about 85% of overall capacity.