Tom Hanks sells big on Broadway

'Lucky Guy' bows strong in so-so B.O. week

Broadway looks to be getting lucky with “Lucky Guy,” the Tom Hanks starrer that raked in an impressive B.O. sum from its first two previews perfs.

The play’s $367,156 tally for a pair of previews was well over the Broadhurst Theater’s gross potential — meaning plenty of folks shelled out for premium-priced seats in order to catch a glimpse of Hanks live on stage. The show’s average paid price per ticket came in at $153.17 – the second-highest on the Main Stem, after the $180.92 at the perennially in-demand tuner “The Book of Mormon” ($1,592,202). The sold-out crowds came close to 102% of capacity, including standing-room ducats.

Early performances of new titles can often draw hordes of enthusiasts scrambling to be among the first to check out untested wares. But even keeping that in mind, the early tally for “Lucky Guy” — not to mention the play’s advance sales, said to be north of $9 million — seem to indicate that Hanks may well join the small pantheon of Hollywood stars who burn up the box office as soon as they set foot onstage, a la Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts.

“Lucky Guy” was just one of the shows starting up perfs last week as the spring season finally began to ramp up, with “Kinky Boots” ($105,384 for one performance) playing a single preview and “Hands on a Hardbody” ($186,336 for seven) coming out of the gate as slowly as might be expected of a new show that has yet to carve out a profile with Gotham auds or cultivate word-of-mouth.

A couple of the frame’s exiting productions, however, were pushed aloft by last-minute biz. “Mary Poppins” ($1,006,157) broke the $1 million mark despite a heavily comped closing perf, while “Manilow on Broadway” ($910,345 for five) posted the highest tally of its limited engagement. Two more shows to shutter over the weekend, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($331,805) and “The Other Place” ($301,779), logged less elevated totals.

One show to report promisingly large numbers in previews, “Cinderella” ($804,176), slid, but that’s to be expected in a frame that included the show’s comped opening night as well as press perfs and Kids Night on Broadway, the week-long, lower-price ticket initiative aimed at getting tykes in theaters (especially at family-friendly titles like “Cinderella”).

The majority of individual productions already running posted B.O. declines of varying degress, although with so many new shows on the boards, overall attendance actually upticked just a bit to 192,215.

Rialto box office cume hit $17.2 million for 24 shows on the boards, a bit more than the $16.9 million posted during the same frame last year, when there were 27 shows up and running.

In the coming week, legiters will be closely watching to see whether Hanks’ B.O. bow was just a fluke. If not, that should help balance out the loss of the recently defunct shows, as should all the new titles poised to jump into the ring in the coming weeks.

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