‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ to Close In January

Spiderman Turn of the Dark-to-Close

After a rocky two-year stint on Broadway, the high-profile musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” will close its doors in January, sources confirm to Variety.

The move is expected to be announced later this week.

The $75 million “Spider-Man,” featuring the music and lyrics of U2’s Edge and Bono (who are also producers), was hit with several legal and creative obstacles during its two-and-a-half year run. A number of “Spider-Man” actors suffered injuries before the show officially opened in June 2011 (none seriously), while Tony-winning director Julie Taymor fell off the project in a very public and heated battle with the show’s producers.

Taymor eventually sued and later settled with the “Spider-Man” producers, but the damage was already done.

“Spider-Man” ticket sales did manage to sell-out in subsequent months, with the superhero musical steadily earning over $1 million per week. The only problem was: the show cost $1.2 million to produce each week, making it the most expensive production in Broadway history and a financial wreck for investors.

When sales noticeably faltered post-Labor Day (weekly estimates hit record low of $200,000), producers began discussing the closure of “Spider-Man” with the hope of taking the acrobatic production elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal, who first reported the news, said that “Spider-Man” will next open in Las Vegas.

A spokesman for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” declined to comment on this story.

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  1. HKGuy says:

    ““Spider-Man” ticket sales did manage to sell-out in subsequent months, with the superhero musical steadily earning over $1 million per week. The only problem was: the show cost $1.2 million to produce each week.”

    Per NYT: The musical emerged to become an audience favorite, grossing roughly $1.5 million a week in ticket sales for a time. Is anybody home at Variety these days?

      • Harry Mc says:

        Ticket sales for show that are running are usually sold well in advance. Although the box office revenue was decreasing after the summer tourist season no one in authority from the show was talking publicly about closing. It would not be usual for tickets to be sold as far as a year in advance for a show “with legs” (appearing to have steady income) so May would not be at all outside the normal routine. I’ve walked past Broadway theaters where shows have closed suddenly and they had signs on the door as to how ticket refunds would be handled. It is unlikely that you could actually go online (or call) today and get a confirmed booking for “Spiderman” after the official closing date of January 5, 2014. If it did happen (unlikely) you would receive a full refund automatically on your credit card or mailed to your address of record if you paid via cash or check. Current plan is for a transfer to Vegas for opening sometime in 2015 – but finding the backers to fund such a move is going to be very very difficult.

      • David says:

        Why are tickets for May functions on sale?

  2. Tom says:

    “A number of “Spider-Man” actors suffered injuries before the show officially opened in June 2011 (none seriously),” – none seriously??? According to Spiderman author Glen Berger’s own book, performer Chris Tierney suffered “a fractured skull, a punctured lung, internal bleeding, four broken ribs, and three cracked vertebrae.” What the heck, Variety? What exactly constitutes a “serious” injury these days???

  3. James says:

    Hello Fact Checking! All Broadway show weekly grosses are reported on the Broadway League website. If you sort the date range you will see that the grosses for September 2013 are as follows: Week ending 9/1 $969,849; Week ending 9/8 $790,714; Week ending 9/15 $731,212; Week ending 9/22 $718,957; Week ending 9/29 $621,960; Week ending 10/6 $654,748; Week ending 10/13 $956,929. Notice that NONE of these weekly grosses is anywhere in the neighborhood of the reported $200,000. Do your research and check your facts. There is no excuse for sloppy reporting of easily verifiable information like this. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

    • Christopher says:

      Please re-read the article. The author refers to estimates, not sales. To make money the show must re-coup expenses. This show was expensive and had to run for years to make a profit–if it could make the enough profit each week. The show was not selling enough to make what it was estimated to need to make to keep the profit flow. (and no, I’m not related to the author, Variety, or in the biz. I did a google search. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man:_Turn_Off_the_Dark#Box_office)

  4. Michael Co says:

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, the show wasn’t much more than a enormous (and expensive) stunt. The story didn’t flow and the score seemed constantly under revision (supposedly intentional). The show relied too heavily on the (few) flying sequences and not enough on the plot structure or musical elements. The performers obviously put tremendous effort into a difficult project but the show wasn’t as strong as their performance. Obviously merchandising has become a critical component for all Broadway shows. However, in the case of “Spiderman” it seemed more attention was paid to selling souvenirs, trinkets and photos in the lobby then most current production.

    Shows like “Spiderman” appeal to a specific, and not necessarily Broadway, audience and to succeed they must rely on repeat business and the show’s operating expense was too high to maintain a long run without that heavy repeat business. My guess would be that, for even the hardcore fan, the novelty has worn off. While I hate to see closing notices posted on any show. However, it seems that “Spiderman” lasted longer than most expected considering the problems getting it to opening night and less than glowing critical reviews. Can it make it in Las Vegas? Maybe by adding more ariel and flying stunts since that seems to draw Vegas crowds. But Broadway shows don’t have a very good Vegas track record.

  5. Brandon says:

    This sucks ! It has a great book, I’d love to see it and there’s no way I’ll get there before January :( if they didn’t have to pay wacky Taymor so much for trying to keep alive the musical she single handed made impossible to keep up

    • Michael Co says:

      I disagree on the book being great but that’s irrleavent. For some real insight about what went into getting “Spiderman” to the stage I recommend Glen Berger’s book “Song of Spiderman”. Berger was part of the early creative team (hired by Taymor) and in his book he readily assigns blame (not excluding himself) for many of the backstage fiascos that, after much work and delay, ultimately became the “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” that made it to the stage.

  6. rtlvr says:

    With all of the changes needed to be made in the theater, physically, and the technical rigging, HOW on earth would anyone take this show “on the road”?

    • Harry Mc says:

      They want stadium or arena venues (other than the proposed Vegas show) but it is unlikely that it will ever happen. If, and it’s a big if, “Spiderman” ever goes anywhere (but Vegas) it will be a complete rework with very limited ariel activity. The high insurance costs will prevent most venues from even considering something like what is being produced on Broadway even if it’s made available. The biggest “if” however, is if they can find backers willing to throw more money at this show.

  7. Bob C says:

    NO! I thought this would run and run and run and run and be the Biggest and Longest-Running Broadway Hit in the History of the Universe! Go figure, huh? Well, maybe they’ll have better luck with “Howard the Duck — The Musical!”

    • Michael Co says:

      Actually the buzz is that a musical adaptation of “King Kong” is scheduled for the Foxwoods. No timetable yet as the theater will have to “undo” some of the “Spiderman” renovations.

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