B.O. impact estimated at $8.5 million in losses
Hurricane Sandy’s impact on Broadway box office rang in at $8.5 million of missed revenue, according to estimates from the Broadway League, with a 19% loss in attendance.
The estimates could be made with the tallying of the last week’s Main Stem sales, hobbled by the cancellation of the 48 individual performances over the early part of the frame. Total for the week ending Nov. 4 were down about $6.5 million or about one-third compared to the prior week — which already was down due to cancelled Sunday perfs from the previous sesh.
The League came up with its $8.5 million figure when the org compared the cume for last week plus the previous sesh against a baseline tally that assumed the two weeks would have otherwise trended the same as they did in 2011 (when there was a slight 1% dip in sales week-to-week).
The 19% loss in attendance derived from comparing actual attendance against the average of attendance logged during the same timeframe over the last decade. According to the League’s estimates, losses from Sandy were less than those from Hurricane Irene in 2011, which hit the Rialto in a busy summer week rather than during a relatively soft autumn sesh. Irene cancelled some 66 individual perfs vs. the 48 nixed by Sandy.
Overall Main Stem sales for the week came in at $13,578,724 for a roster of 28 shows that, depending on a title’s sked and how quickly it could get back up and running, played between five and seven perfs each (rather than the standard week of eight).
But other than the numbers taking a beating, there was little positional shifting in the Top 10 or anywhere else on the chart. Shows that were doing well continued to do well, all things considered, while the offerings that were struggling kept on struggling.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was at “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($445,632 for seven shows), which plummeted a disproportionate 55% in a week of only one missed perf. The figure stands out particularly when compared to the title’s receipts over the past couple of months, when the show had seen sales surge after a summer of decent but unspectacular sales.
To be fair, last week was shaping up to be a tough one across the board anyway, with B.O.-draining annual events Halloween and the New York City Marathon (which had been skedded for Nov. 4 before it was cancelled in the wake of the storm) both falling within the week.
And “Nice Work” wasn’t the only one to take a major hit, with play “Grace” ($219,878 for seven) also down by more than 50%. New tuner “Scandalous” ($117,402 for six) and the Roundabout’s revival of “Cyrano de Bergerac” ($123,220 for seven) also were among those down by about half.
In the Top 10, “The Book of Mormon” ($1,332,221 for seven perfs) proved that not even a hurricane could dent sky-high ticket demand, with the show reasserting itself at the head of the class and outpacing the other two members of this week’s millionaires’ club, “Wicked” ($1,166,275 for seven) and “The Lion King” ($1,121,501 for six). Big-selling new arrival “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($744,703 for five), toplined by Al Pacino, also held up just fine, while “Annie” ($638,714 for seven), down only 9%, showed itself to be notably resilient in the week leading up to its Nov. 8 opening.
Overall attendance for the week came in at 149,443, way down compared to the 230,000 logged in the same week in 2011.
At least Broadway has the traditional B.O. bounty of Thanksgiving to look forward to later this month. Before that, though, the Street has to get through this week, hampered already by yet another sales-dampening event: the presidential election.