Broadway Box Office: Big Losses Counter Small Gains

A lot of productions posted minor gains at the Broadway box office last week — but those rises were countered by some big, unavoidable losses at a few individual titles, including “The Lion King,” “Paramour” and “The Color Purple.”

“Lion King” ($1,651,070 for seven) dropped by more than $350,000, but that’s largely attributable to the fact that the production lost two days and one performance to ESPN, which took over the Minskoff Theater for its TV upfront presentation. Previewing Cirque du Soleil title “Paramour” ($464,021 for four previews) plummeted by more than 55% because it cut back to only four previews last week to allow Univision to use the Lyric Theater for its upfront presentations.

The Color Purple” ($604,552) slid by 38% in the wake of the spike it received from Jennifer Hudson’s final week of performances. However, Hudson’s replacement, Heather Headley, is picking up some strong buzz for her performance, which might fuel some sales momentum in conjunction with the coming weeks of awards-season attention.

All those dips — plus one at “Hamilton” ($1,686,168), in a week during which the production played one of its matinees for New York City public school students — were enough to drag down the cumulative total for the week, which saw a number of upticks at a several individual shows. Those on the rise included current Tony Awards nominees “Waitress” ($981,313), “Shuffle Along” ($957,143), “School of Rock” ($847,399), “Bright Star” ($477,058) and “The Humans” ($462,084).

The Broadway cume downshifted  by $1.3 million to $26.3 million for 36 shows on the boards. Attendance slowed by about 12,000 to 268,762.

Toward the bottom of the chart, “Tuck Everlasting” ($326,097) rose a bit, but Lupita Nyong’o starrer “Eclipsed” ($291,497) continued to deflate. Industry types will be watching how those shows fare in the next few weeks, while also keeping an eye on how much the Tony nominations can drive sales at awards frontrunners.

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