B.O. hampered by election, storm
Figures for Broadway’s box office and attendance were still a bit hurricane-dampened in the first full frame after superstorm Sandy.Attendance hit 219,655, much better than the 149,443 logged during the prior storm-shortened week but less than the 257,751 logged for the same week last year. The sales tally rose to $19,598,834 for 32 shows on the boards. Last year’s sesh, also with 32 productions, pulled in $23.8 million in advance of the traditional Thanksgiving holiday boom. Of course, last week had other obstacles to contend with besides storm recovery. Tuesday was the annual B.O. drain of election night, and soon thereafter a nor’easter kept the weather inhospitable for a couple of days. Besides, it was the first complete week following a time change, which some (but not all) legiters blame for a regular downtick in sales. Among individual shows, “Annie” ($872,700) was perhaps the attention-getter of the week, in that the musical accommodated a slew of comps for press perfs and its Nov. 8 opening but nonetheless managed to post its highest tally since it began previews Oct. 3. Show earned a mixed bag of reviews, but it looks as if the sun could indeed come out tomorrow for the tuner, given the title’s potentially strong draw with the family auds that flock to the Rialto during holiday frames. Last week “Annie” even beat out “Evita” ($864,021), the Ricky Martin starrer that regularly carves out a perch in the millionaires’ club but seems to be taking its time in getting back up to speed. Katie Holmes topliner “Dead Accounts” ($310,468 for seven previews) played its first round of perfs, with initial sales suggesting that tabloid fixture Holmes isn’t the kind of box office powerhouse of, say, Al Pacino in “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($991,322 for seven). The “Dead Accounts” sales tally and the 60% attendance fit the pattern, though, for the first week of a new play with an unfamiliar title. Also joining the fray this week was “A Christmas Story” ($461,281 for seven previews), which, like any Yuletime title, likely won’t reach its demand potential until closer to Christmas. Another seasonal outing, “Elf” ($438,569 for five), kicked off its return run after establishing its Rialto cred in a 2010 bow, while Lincoln Center Theater’s “Golden Boy” ($88,644 for three) played its first trio of perfs. “The Book of Mormon” ($1,627,820) held on to the No. 1 spot, ahead of neck-and-neck musicals “The Lion King” ($1,506,571) and “Wicked” ($1,506,283). Unsurprisingly, nearly every show improved over the prior frame, with large leaps (at least proportionally) reported at “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (up 82% to $236,602), “Bring It On” ($341,557) and “The Heiress” ($583,852), a recent opener posting its best tally so far.