Broadway Box Office: Few Fireworks for Fourth of July

Broadway sales fourth of July 2015
Paul Kolnik

The Fourth of July holiday threw a wrench into the Broadway box office last week, prompting declines at almost every single production but for a few exceptions — including, notably, “The King and I.”

Independence Day often wreaks havoc on summertime sales, what with fireworks, barbecues and other festivities keeping most folks outdoors instead of inside a theater. This year’s holiday hit particularly hard because it fell on a Saturday, which led several titles to nix their Saturday evening shows — typically one of the most profitable of the week — and reschedule for an additional matinee or evening.

The end result was a downward trend so prevalent that the few shows that resisted it stood out even more. The big headturner was “King and I” ($1,241,086), the Tony winner that gained more than $65,000 (or about 6%), although “The Lion King” ($2,143,344) and “Fish in the Dark” ($854,571) both upticked, if only slightly, and Tony champ “Fun Home” ($744,230) barely wavered.

Otherwise, week-to-week shortfalls were the norm, although many of the really big ones happened at shows that could afford them, such as musicals “Wicked” ($1,864,235), “Something Rotten!” ($1,0543,848) and “Finding Neverland” ($1,087,396). Shows like “Beautiful” ($860,890) and “Kinky Boots” ($823,566) looked a bit unsteadier, and “On the Town” ($473,731), which has struggled fairly consistently at the box office, fell 18%.

Plays are often the hardest hit as tourists flock to razzle-dazzle tuners, and that proved true last week too: “Wolf Hall” ($346,459) was off by a third in its final week on the boards, and “Hand to God” ($317,404) slid by 20%. Tony winner “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” ($861,351) fell about 12% (but still rang in plenty of money for a long-running play), while the dip at Jim Parsons starrer “An Act of God” ($903,661) didn’t stop it from being the top-grossing play last week.

Broadway’s one previewing show, “Amazing Grace” ($201,081 for seven previews), continued to have trouble attracting attention, posting about the same tally as it did the previous week, when it played only five shows.

Overall Broadway sales fell $3.7 million to $24.6 million for 28 shows on the boards. Attendance slid by 14,000 to 244,225, or 87% of overall capacity. With the Fourth out of the way, expect sales to rebound next week.





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