Gotham’s streets teemed with ghosts, devils and Michael Jacksons over the weekend, and you can bet they weren’t headed to “Wonderful Town.”
Broadway box office took a big 11.07% tumble during Week 22 (Oct. 25-31), down to $11,102,206, with attendance falling 9.31% to 176,761.
The receipts figure is more than $3 million below last year at this time (Week 23 of last season, Oct 27-Nov. 2); there were 32 shows then compared with 26 now.
Halloween’s effect is difficult to determine. Grosses dropped 3% during Halloween week 2003 despite the addition of four shows, and 8% in 2002 despite the addition of one. But those were both the weeks following the end of daylight-saving time, which was probably a bigger factor.
Since this autumn’s extra hour came this past Sunday morning, look for receipts to slip this week, especially with the presidential election distracting would-be theatergoers. (And even thesps: Mario Cantone did an extra performance of “Laugh Whore” Monday and canceled tonight’s show in order to encourage would-be auds to get out and vote.)
One press rep speculated that pre-election fears of a terrorist attack and even the new taped message from Osama Bin Laden might have caused some legit fans to stay home or leave the city last week.
“Fiddler on the Roof” took the biggest hit, dropping $178,071 to $406,343. “Bombay Dreams” plunged $173,514 to $370,204, far south of the previous record low ($431,101, Week 17).
“Wonderful Town” stumbled $153,845 to $383,132, though a rep for the show said last-minute changes to the performance sked could be partly to blame. “Rent,” sliding $144,102 to $249,983, had the week’s biggest percentage drop (36.6%).
Other six-digit tumblers: “Chicago” (down $134,823 to $437,217), “Movin’ Out” (down $111,234 to $479,973), “The Phantom of the Opera” (down $110,094 to $513,282), “The Producers” (down $104,905 to $819,400), “Beauty and the Beast” (down $101,011 to $481,953) and “42nd Street” (down $100,149 to $618,126).
‘Wicked’s’ winning week
Fittingly, the only long-running show to up its gross was the holiday-appropriate “Wicked,” which got a $10,184 boost to $1,195,979. Tuner sells out every week, but several factors boosted its sales of premium seats. Halloween coincided with the tuner’s first anniversary, marked by a block party midday Saturday and other events. Stars Idina Menzel and Jennifer Laura Thompson sat for an interview and performed on Friday’s episode of “The View.”
Other gainers included “The Good Body” and ” ‘night Mother,” both on a full eight-perf sked for the first time. The former rose $40,368 to $70,564 after three previews the previous week, while the latter rose $48,647 to $174,099 after a four-preview week.
“Laugh Whore” was up $45,465 to $126,352 while “Brooklyn,” which moved from seven perfs to eight, climbed $97,219 to $336,018. Both shows were coming off opening-night week.
Curiously, “Twelve Angry Men” inched up $4,896 to $272,875 during its opening-night week, while attendance dropped from 5,028 to 4,774.