How big a hit will “Young Frankenstein” be? Its producers say we’ll just have to guesstimate.
In a surprising move, Mel Brooks and Robert F.X. Sillerman, the two producers behind Brooks’ latest tuner, have announced they will not release the show’s weekly sales figures.
Decision is likely to cause another stir among those in the legit industry, many of whom already are put off by the production’s boundary-pushing premium pricing plan, which has a top ticket price of $450.
Broadway producers and theater owners have been reporting weekly Rialto sales for the better part of a century. The longstanding but noncompulsory practice was begun in the pages of Variety, with the figures now also gathered by the League of American Theaters and Producers.
Sillerman, the content mogul (“American Idol”) who helped the shift the ticket distribution model for live entertainment during his tenure at SFX Entertainment, has openly discussed rejiggering some of the entrenched business practices of the legit industry.
The pricing plan for “Young Frankenstein,” he has said, was designed because demand for tickets seemed to warrant it. As the follow-up to Brooks’ previous stage smash “The Producers,” “Frankenstein” is considered a hot property on the Rialto with the potential to turn into a “Producers”-like phenom.
Helping to balance the batches of premium-priced tickets to “Frank” is a lottery for $25 front-row seats to most perfs of the musical.
Questions regarding the motive behind the decision remain. It it an attempt to keep astronomical sales figures a secret — thereby evading further accusations of greed on the part of the producers — or a way of hiding receipts that look as if they won’t be as boffo as hyped?
“If we could figure out any benefit to reporting grosses, other than bragging rights, we would certainly consider it,” Sillerman said in a statement.