‘King’ rules over all Broadway

Disney tuner passes 'Phantom' as top-grossing Rialto show

The Rialto found plenty of surprises in its Easter basket in Week 45 (April 2-8): Not only did “The Lion King” surpass “Phantom of the Opera” to become the top-grossing Broadway production of all time, but several shows saw significant spring-break spikes.

Two religious holidays (Passover and Easter) and several heaping helpings of spring-break-fueled tourist sales meant B.O. resurrections for some long-playing shows. With an overall ascension of $4.2 million, the Rialto hit a cume of $28 million for the 39 shows on the boards.

“Wicked” ($2,183,025), “The Lion King” ($2,081,189) and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($2,010,621) all topped the $2 million mark. The most definitive proof that tourists were in town for the week, however, were the significant spikes at “Mary Poppins” ($1,364,848) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,262,881), two productions whose sales fluctuations often serve as a reliable marker of tourist turnout.

With a cume of more than $850 million, “Lion King” pushed “Phantom” out of the No. 1 spot. Due to higher ticket prices and a larger theater, the Disney show, which opened in 1997, made to No. 1 much faster than “Phantom,” which opened in 1988.

For the week, few productions declined compared with the prior frame. The 24 musicals grossed $23,172,267 for 82.8% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 225,599 and an average paid admission of $102.71.

The 15 plays grossed $4,814,252 for 17.2% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 74,164 and an average paid admission of $64.91.

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