Box office suffers, but Irene was even costlier

Superstorm Sandy’s impact on the 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 League came up with the figure by comparing the cumes for Week 23 (Oct. 29-Nov. 4) and Week 22 (Oct. 22-28) 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).

Totals for the week ending Nov. 4 were down about $6.5 million, or about one-third compared with the prior week, which already was down due to cancelled Sunday perfs during that sesh.

The 19% loss in attendance was derived by comparing actual attendance against the average attendance logged during the same timeframe over the past 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 washed away by Sandy.

Overall Main Stem sales for the week were $13,578,724 for the 28 shows, most of which, depending on schedule and how quickly they could get back up and running, played between five and seven perfs each (rather than the standard week of eight).

There was little positional shifting in the Top 10 or anywhere else on the chart, though “Nice Work if You Can Get It” ($445,632 for seven shows), plummeted a disproportionate 55% in a week of only one missed perf.

Overall attendance for the week was 149,443, way down vs. with the 230,000 logged in the same week in 2011. The 19 musicals grossed $11,064,856 for 81.5% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 117,060 and an average paid admission of $94.52. The nine plays grossed $2,513,868 for 18.5% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 32,383 and an average paid admission of $77.63.

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