Broadway Box Office: Quartet of Stellar Sellers Lead Columbus Day Boom

Lion King Broadway Box Office Columbus

Holiday helps sales hit highs all along the Street, led by 'Lion King,' 'Wicked,' 'Book of Mormon' and 'Kinky Boots'

Autumn bounty came to Broadway last week, with major sales and attendance bumps logged at most shows on the boards and no fewer than four titles topping an impressive $1.8 million each.

The Main Stem traditionally begins to shake off the September doldrums around now, as new shows join the slate and overall activity begins to pick up; last week the long Columbus Day weekend also encouraged a spike in tourism.

Eight shows broke the $1 million mark last week, with “The Lion King” ($1,885,054) edging ahead of “Wicked” ($1,874,654) at the top of the chart. “The Book of Mormon” ($1,844,539) broke its own record at the Eugene O’Neill Theater for the umpteenth time, and last season’s Tony fave “Kinky Boots” ($1,810,202) also outdid itself.

Newest addition to the millionaires’ club, Daniel Craig-Rachel Weisz starrer “Betrayal” ($1,112,027 for seven previews), broke the house record the production set the prior week, muscling up to come in behind spring successes “Motown” ($1,488,380) and “Matilda” ($1,430,085) and ahead of perennial tourist fave “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,023,947).

Among other fall openers, “Big Fish” ($856,110) looked encouragingly strong, posting its best-ever sales figure the week after it earned a mixed bag of reviews, including a prominent pan in the New York Times. Production’s challenge now will be to hold on to that momentum.

A slew of critical raves, meanwhile, helped push the current revival of “The Glass Menagerie” ($724,363), starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, to top itself. “A Night With Janis Joplin” ($353,070) also rose despite accommodating press perfs and its comp-heavy opening night.

Perhaps the strongest marker that the out-of-towners had returned to the Street came from the longrunning tuners that often act as tourism barometers, with “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($956,929) at last reversing a month of notably low sales. Shows that are strong draws for younger theatergoers and family auds — including “Newsies” ($843,620), “Cinderella” ($842,893) and “Annie” ($735,228) — also climbed considerably.

With “Betrayal” attracting all the attention among previewing shows,  John Grisham adaptation “A Time to Kill” ($278,494) built only a bit compared to the prior sesh while nonprofit outings “The Snow Geese” ($236,863) and “The Winslow Boy” ($199,512) came in farther down the chart.

A couple of shows closed last week, with “The Trip to Bountiful” ($317,826 for three perfs) pulling in robust sales for a shortened week and “Soul Doctor” ($128,256) barely benefiting from last-minute sales in its final frame.

Overall Broadway cume climbed by $3.2 million to $24.6 million for 28 shows on the boards. Attendance swelled by more than 17,000 to 232,400 (or 90% of total capacity).

Two shows may have exited the boards last week, but more are on the way, starting with the Mark Rylance-toplined double-bill of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III.” Those additions will continue to add coin to the pot in the coming weeks.

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  1. Tim says:

    Unreal to me that PHANTOM still plays to million dollar crowds decades after it’s played every major city six or seven times. There are so many better productions on the boards now. I can’t imagine blowing $100 on a ticket to POTO.

    • Michael Coe says:

      Phantom is still alive and kicking but my guess is relatively few (comparatively) are paying $100 (or more) for tickets. Phantom has been at TKTS non-stop for 10+ years and discount tickets (as low as $29) are readily available at just about every online site having anything to do with Broadway. This same deep discounting (in addition to some frequent stunt-casting) is the same thing that’s keeping “Chicago” alive. I’m not complaining, just commenting. I’m all for whatever it takes to fill seats, keeps people working and pays the bills.

  2. Umba Macumba says:

    The Lion King has fulfilled its role in the Circle O’ Broadway life… Along with Andross Llyod Webstone’s “Cats”. Andross needs to have Kat Dennings do a musical, two BIG Girls… and invite P. Ditty 2 w rap.. sum tangs…

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