Broadway Box Office: ‘700 Sundays’ Is Worth Its Weight in Crystal

Billy Crystal's solo outing comes within spitting distance of $1.2 million with just six performances last week

Billy Crystal Broadway 700 Sundays box

Billy Crystal’s solo show ” 700 Sundays” may not have made the most money at the Broadway box office last week compared to other shows, but it sure is efficient about the way it goes about raking in its not-insubstantial take.

The $1,197,109 the title rang in last week was for just six performances, as opposed to the eight shows that make up a traditional Rialto playing sked. That’s nearly $200,000 per perf, just like splashy musicals like “Wicked” ($2,036,322), “The Lion King” ($1,955,923) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,877,347), with an average price paid per ticket ($149.06) that puts it behind only “Mormon,” “Lion King,” “Kinky Boots” and Daniel Craig juggernaut “Betrayal” ($1,267,872). And unlike a large-scale musical like “Mormon,” “700 Sundays” carries a relatively low running cost because of its single-actor setup.

Chalk up the popularity of “700 Sundays” to the overlap between Crystal’s older-skewing fanbase with the demo of prime Broadway ticket buyers, i.e. older femmes. It doesn’t hurt either that the pump had been primed not only with the show’s big-money Rialto run in 2004 but also with a series of tour stops around the country over the last decade, all of which helped familiarize ticketbuyers with the title enough to get them scurrying to the box office when the show returned to Gotham.

There were fewer theatergoers jamming Times Square last week than during the prior Thanksgiving frame, but still enough demand to keep sales at nine shows above the $1 million mark. B.O. stayed plenty robust at what have been the usual suspects all this fall, including “Motown” ($1,563,294) and “Matilda” ($1,190,187), although “Matilda” found itself taking a significant step down compared to the previous week, along with another title with a hefty family and young-girl appeal, “Annie” ($928,775). “Cinderella” ($952,103) also slipped, but not by as much.

In the crush of the holiday season, when familiar titles dominate theatergoers’ wish lists, it can be hard for even raved-about new titles to gain much momentum. That was true for both “After Midnight” ($658,456) and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($531,198), two shows that recently earned stellar notices but haven’t yet seen receipts spike by a huge degree.

By those lights, previewing musical “Beautiful” ($814,141) is looking pretty darn good. The show rode into New York propelled by good notices from its San Francisco tryout earlier this year, and the tunes — drawn from the catalog of Carole King, whose life story is recounted in the musical — hit the same lucrative ticketbuyer demographics as the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons score for “Jersey Boys” ($1,030,341).

Of the Streets’ dueling productions of two plays in rep, “Twelfth Night/Richard III” ($794,894) continued to impress while “No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot” ($645,781), which accommodated a big chunk of post-opening press seats last week, hasn’t yet had the chance to catch much new momentum from the strong reviews its two plays recently earned.

After the boom of the Turkey Day weekend, Broadway cume deflated by $3.6 million to a still-healthy $27.9 million for 31 shows on the boards. Attendance was down from the Turkey Day sesh, but not by much, sliding by around 7,600 to 253,429. Overall average price paid per ticket came in at $110.23.

Among the shows on their way out, Orlando Bloom starrer “Romeo and Juliet” ($387,100) gained, though not by much, in its final week of perfs, while “Big Fish” ($571,516), due to close at the end of the year, slid, and “First Date” ($378,214), shuttering Jan. 5, was up somewhat.

Broadway box office is poised to continue pulling in relatively strong numbers for the rest of the month until the Christmas-New Year’s frame — when sales will go through the roof.