×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway Box Office: The End of Summer Sales is in Sight

Receipts, attendance begin their late-summer declines ahead of the Labor Day drop

Every summer must come to an end, and box office numbers indicate that last week might have been the beginning of the end of this year’s annual summer boom on Broadway.

Nearly every production on the boards experienced declines last week, while tapering tourism drove attendance down as well. Coming out of the frame, Beatles revue “Let It Be” — an example of the concert genre that has shown notable B.O. strength in recent months — announced it would shutter following disappointing sales.

Despite any overall softening, the musicals at the top of the Main Stem chart had little to complain about, whatever dropoffs they endured. “The Lion King” ($2,112,788), for instance, logged its seventh week straight above the $2 million mark, and held the top spot on the Broadway ladder for its 17th non-consecutive week so far this calendar year, more than any other show.

As has been the case for most of the summer, habitual frontrunners “Wicked” ($1,871,050) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,741,615) were joined by newer outings including “Kinky Boots” ($1,649,031), “Motown” ($1,437,843) and “Matilda” ($1,329,084), the latter bucking the downward trend and breaking its prior house record at the Shubert Theater. Even “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,025,358) managed to top $1 million despite cancelling one performance due to an actor injury.

Even though the spring’s successes, many of them boosted by the Tonys, have shown unusual commercial strength all summer —  including revival “Pippin” ($1,023,367), continuing to post stellar numbers in a relatively small venue — this season’s newer offerings have had trouble catching on. “Let It Be” ($316,572) reps a case in point, with the producers of the show announcing the Beatles tribute would shutter Sept. 1 rather than stick around through the end of the year as originally planned. The show likely suffered in part from its similarity to 2010-11 outing “Rain,” another recent Beatles tribute (producers of which have filed a lawsuit over the overlap between the two productions).

Popular on Variety

A pair of recently opened original musicals also haven’t sparked any fires at the B.O., with Zachary Levi starrer “First Date” ($424,227) up a fraction in its first full frame post-opening and “Soul Doctor” ($200,673) holding steady in its opening week. Dance showcase “Forever Tango” ($282,884), which joined the slate in July, saw sales slide more than 25%.

Overall Broadway cume slid about $1.5 million to $21.8 million for 23 shows on the boards, while attendance dipped by 16,000 to 202,495 (or 86% of overall capacity). The downward spiral will probably turn into a trend: Declines are poised to continue for the rest of the month, with late August often presaging the bigger back-to-school dropoff that traditionally occurs after Labor Day.

More Legit

  • Bess Wohl

    Listen: The Impossible Plays of Bess Wohl

    The playwright Bess Wohl is always chasing a wild idea — and she’s found that rather than scaring away her collaborators, it just makes them more eager. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “I started my career thinking, oh, I’ll just write a play that’s really easy to do,” Wohl said on the latest episode [...]

  • Roundabout Theatre Company: Three New Plays

    Roundabout Theatre's Off-Broadway Season Adds Three Shows From Female Playwrights

    Roundabout Theatre Company, led by artistic director and CEO Todd Haimes, announced Tuesday that three female-written plays will be added to the 2020-2021 Off-Broadway season. Sanaz Toossi’s “English” will make its world premiere in fall of 2020, while Lindsey Ferrentino’s “The Year to Come” and Anna Ziegler’s “The Wanderers” will make their New York debuts [...]

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Frozen review musical

    Warmth and Humor Pervade Pantages Production of 'Frozen' the Musical

    In 2013, Disney’s “Frozen” hit screens like a 100 mile-per-hour snowball, sparking a pop cultural phenomenon in which little girls and boys pranced about dressed in Anna and Elsa and Olaf costumes while belting aloud “Let It Go,” Elsa’s feminist anthemic response to ice powers rendering her a societal outcast. The animated movie won two [...]

  • My Name Is Lucy Barton review

    'My Name is Lucy Barton': Theater Review

    Laura Linney is in love. Just watch the radiant expression on her face as she wraps her arms around the character of Lucy Barton, a role she played in two separate engagements at the Bridge Theater in London, and is now reprising on Broadway in “My Name is Lucy Barton.” The feeling is obviously mutual, [...]

  • 'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to

    'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to Air Weekly, Syndicate Nationally (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal” will become nationally syndicated, marking a first for a program about the Great White Way. Beginning in fall 2020, the monthly show will increase frequency to air weekly. The show is hosted and executive-produced by 12-time Emmy Award winner Tamsen Fadal, a news anchor at WPIX, the channel that initially [...]

  • Laura Linney My Name Is Lucy

    Listen: What Laura Linney Learns From Bad Shows

    For Laura Linney, every stage experience is a learning experience. “Even the bad ones!” she cheerfully declared on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “Even the ones that are really bad, and I’ve been really bad in some things,” continued the Emmy winner, currently back on Broadway [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content