Broadway Box Office: Columbus Day Drives Street-Wide Spike

Broadway Box Office: Columbus Day Drives

Columbus Day brought a surge of long-weekend tourism business to Broadway last week, with the holiday spurring major gains all along the Street at shows including newly anointed critical darling “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (pictured above).

“Curious Incident” ($769,927), propelled by the strong reviews it earned after its Oct. 5 opening, climbed more than 50% compared to the prior frame. A couple of titles with strong family appeal, “Matilda” ($1,092,670) and “Cinderella” ($760,861), also stepped up by the same proportion, while Idina Menzel topliner “If/Then” ($741,315) took a big step up too. So did “Love Letters” ($339,907), the well-reviewed two-hander that’s been having trouble gaining traction at the box office.

Actually, pretty much every show got a nice lift from the three-day weekend. At the top of the chart, “The Lion King” ($2,050,270) topped $2 million, while “Aladdin” ($1,614,428) and “Beautiful” ($1,411,132) each set a new house record. Fall play outings “You Can’t Take It With You” ($671,178) and “This Is Our Youth” ($421,840) hit new highs.

Among the Main Stem’s previewing productions, Sting musical “The Last Ship” ($540,725 for seven shows) remained about on par with the prior week, suggesting theatergoers might be waiting for critics to weigh in and word of mouth to spread before checking it out. Ewan McGregor starrer “The Real Thing” ($462,063) looks to be gaining some steam in the Roundabout Theater Company’s nonprofit revival, and “On the Town” ($608,694 for seven) improved on its way toward its Oct. 16 opening. “Disgraced” ($319,485 for seven), which opens next week, also upticked, but only a bit.

The only Broadway show to log a decline, in fact, was fall juggernaut “It’s Only a Play” ($1,173,897), but that’s to be expected in a frame that included press performances and a heavily comped opening night. The Broadway cume skyrocketed to $27.1 million for 31 shows on the boards, and attendance climbed more than 15,000 to 258,611.

Next week sales will likely soften compared to the holiday-heightened totals, but by now Broadway is out of the woods of early fall, which is traditionally one of the season’s toughest times. Now the 2014-15 slate can barrel down on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the most profitable couple of weeks in any Broadway season.


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