With a book by Allen (based on the screenplay he co-wrote with Douglas McGrath) and direction and choreography by Broadway favorite Susan Stroman (“The Producers“), “Bullets,” which opened cold on Broadway without an out-of-town tryout, came into the 2013-14 season riding a wave of strong buzz from previous industry readings. However, critical reception didn’t match the hype, and although box office showed promise early on in the run, sales and attendance have tapered in recent weeks.
“Bullets” earned six Tony Award nominations but was left out of the all-important race for best musical, which many in the industry believe is the only Tony that significantly drives sales. Last week the production pulled in less than $700,000, or about 45% of the show’s total gross capacity. Attendance averaged 67%.
The closing notice for “Bullets” cements the mixed track record Hollywood had with Broadway musicals last season. “Rocky,” another splashy adaptation of a well-known movie, also will close early, whereas Disney Theatrical’s “Aladdin” has snowballed into one of the summer’s strongest earners. Kickstarter rainmaker Zach Braff couldn’t bank on his fanbase to turn out for his starring gig in “Bullets,” but other screen names — including Neil Patrick Harris (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), Bryan Cranston (“All the Way”) and Denzel Washington (in Scott Rudin’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun”) — struck box office gold during the 2013-14 season.
“Bullets Over Broadway,” which began previews March 11 and opened April 10, closes Aug. 24 at the St. James Theater.