Broadway Holds Better Than Cinema at the Box Office

Broadway Box Office July 4th fizzle

Independence Day didn’t set off any fireworks at the Broadway box office last week — but at least the Rialto held steadier than the cineplex.

Compared to a dreadful weekend at the movies that saw a sales drop of more than 40% compared to last year’s holiday frame, the Broadway box office cume of $25,117,615 were actually up vs. last year’s July 4 numbers, when sales for the holiday week came in at $22.8 million.

Still, no shows were popping champagne. The 2013 tally was for 23 shows running at the time, while this year’s total was for a bulkier slate of 30 titles. That means demand was higher last year, with the 2013 average price paid per ticket weighing in at close to $110 vs. the $100 posted this year.

Compared to the prior week, Broadway sales fell a significant $4.7 million (or 16%) and attendance slid by nearly 10% to 250,849.

At least no one could say they didn’t see it coming. The outdoor celebrations associated with July 4 usually tend to hobble Broadway sales, and the forecast reflected that this year. Unlike last year — when a bumper crop of spring openers managed to hit new heights over Independence Day — nearly every single individual title on the Street logged a decline last week.

Predictably, the few titles to increase during the frame were among the Main Stem’s oldest, most enduring tourist magnets. “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,0001,126) saw the biggest rise, stepping up into the millionaires’ club, while “Chicago” ($526,548) upticked. So did the “The Lion King” ($2,066,169), which inflated enough nab the No. 1 spot on the Top 10.

Among the Broadway lineup’s newer shows, both “Aladdin” ($1,498,146) and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($1,023,210) remained steady, while “Beautiful” ($1,180,965) and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($886,839) were among the shows to downshift.

In a crowd full of week-to-week declines, “Cinderella” ($658,070) stood out with a hefty slide of 29%, while — perhaps more alarmingly since it’s a newer show — “Bullets Over Broadway” ($492,009) dropped 18%. “Motown” ($833,702) was off 16%.

With three shows shuttering the previous sesh, last week saw the exit of “The Realistic Joneses” ($420,300), down just barely in its final frame. That departure leaves “Of Mice and Men” ($755,356), the James Franco-Chris O’Dowd starrer that recouped last month, and Daniel Radcliffe topliner “The Cripple of Inishmaan” ($467,389) as the only non-musicals on the boards at the moment — unless you count the play-with-music “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” ($471,917), doing well enough to announce an extension to Sept. 21.

With July 4 out of the way, Broadway can now get back to its usual robust summer sales, when tourist traffic is abundant enough that Broadway’s most popular shows have begun scheduling a handful of nine-performance weeks to take advantage of the hot-weather business.




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  1. Alexis Greer Bond says:

    I am surprised that Variety posted such a glaring error. The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe played last week, and will be playing for two more weeks. The final performance of this multi Tony nominated Martin McDonough revival will be Sunday July 20th @ 3pm.

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