Broadway Box Office: Halloween Gives Plays, Musicals a Fright

After Midnight Broadway box office

Holiday distracts theatergoers from the Rialto, while 'After Midnight' looks poised to gain steam

Halloween scared away some of Broadway’s sales last week as nearly every production on the boards slipped at the box office — but few of the drops were truly frightening.

A couple of the dips could be attributed to comp-heavy press perfs and opening nights. Cotton Club revue “After Midnight” had a week that accommodated both press tickets and its Nov. 3 opening, so its 14% slip to $371,312 is no surprise — and given the general raves earned by the production, it seems likely to swing back up quickly enough. The Shakespeare-in-rep offerings of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” ($590,481) also slipped as the shows brought in press in advance of their Nov. 10 opening.

But much of the overall slowdown was probably the result of Halloween, which can often distract theatergoers from the Rialto as trick-or-treating pulls tykes and parents alike away from family-friendly titles (like “Annie,” down 18% to $534,060). The holiday also seduces away adults with parties that, this year, extended out into the weekend after the day itself, which fell on a Thursday.

Overall Broadway attendance, coming in at 230,404, was in fact only off about 1,350 from the prior week’s tally, but with one more show on the boards — the recently moved “Mamma Mia!,” launching its run at the Broadhurst with $286,371 for four perfs — plus a couple of previewing titles, “No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot” ($557,098) and “Macbeth” ($389,377), ramping up to full eight-perf weeks (or close to it), capacity went up, causing the total percentage of seats filled to slip to 81%.

Cume rang in at $22.5 million for 31 shows on the boards, down about $675,000 compared to the prior sesh but far higher than the $13.5 million logged during the same week last year, when Hurricane Sandy had wreaked havoc on the city and its transportation infrastructure.

A few titles managed to buck the downward trend last week. Daniel Craig starrer “Betrayal” ($1,277,952) jumped back up after a drop spurred by its opening night the previous week, and broke the house record while it was at it. “Wicked” ($1,736,957) also rose, despite the fact that a large chunk of its Oct. 30 perf was comped for the show’s 10th anniversary celebration.

“Wicked,” in fact, rode its broomstick back to the summit of the Top 10, outpacing all other comers including “The Lion King” ($1,699,6479), “The Book of Mormon” ($1,699, 199) and “Kinky Boots” ($1,625,209).

Expect grosses next week to pick up, as the final addition of the fall season, Billy Crystal solo outing “700 Sundays,” begins perfs Tuesday and looks poised to add a notable sum to the Broadway pot.

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