Broadway Box Office: Super Bowl Bangs Up Broadway

Broadway sales Super Bowl
Carol Rosegg

It might seem like the Super Bowl appeals to an entirely different demographic than Broadway, but that never stops the NFL’s big night from raining on Broadway’s parade.

The distraction of the Broncos vs. the Panthers contributed to an 11% overall decline at the Broadway box office, down $2.5 million compared to the prior week and ringing in at $21 million for 29 shows now running. Attendance slid by about 21,500 to 226,001 — a number that was likely higher than it would have been without the final days of Broadway Week, the two-for-one ticket initiative that ended Feb. 5.

A number of large-scale musicals — the kind that appeal to the broad, general audience that’s also likely to have at least a passing interest in the Super Bowl, or just in attending one of the parties — fell by more than $100,000 each, with “Finding Neverland” ($557,235; pictured above), down $167,495 (or 23%), leading the way. But that show was hardly alone: “Fiddler on the Roof” ($936,466), “Kinky Boots” ($702,285), “Les Miserables” ($576,959), “Matilda” ($546,352) and “Jersey Boys” ($465,912) all took sizable hits.

Some of the Rialto’s newer titles were held up with the help of novelty and strong buzz, including “Hamilton” ($1,771,086), duh, but also “On Your Feet!” ($1,058,989) and “The Color Purple” ($815,646). Bruce Willis starrer “Misery” ($707,574) and the Roundabout Theater Company’s well-reviewed revival of “Noises Off” ($445,927) both managed to uptick by a bit. Broadway’s most popular long-runners, including “The Lion King” ($1,533,403) and “Wicked” ($1,429,696), also did just fine, but couldn’t knock “Hamilton” out of the top slot on the top 10.

Among previewing plays, “Blackbird” ($156,916 for two previews), buoyed by stars Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, did solidly for a new production of an unfamiliar title, and “The Humans” ($236,708) held steady, but could use the publicity boost that will come if the reviews turn out to be as glowing for the Broadway transfer as they were for the Off Broadway premiere last fall.

With the Super Bowl over, Broadway producers still have the tail end of the annual winter slowdown to weather. But there’s a bright spot this week: Valentine’s Day, which usually brings a spike in date-night business.

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