Broadway Box Office Mints a Dozen Millionaires

Summer visitors, strong commercial titles combine for a healthy June week

Patina Miller

Broadway’s millionaires’ club expanded to a full dozen members last week, with a whopping twelve shows pulling in more than $1 million each in a robust summer frame.

It wasn’t so long ago that it was a rare feat for a Rialto production to break the million-dollar mark in a single week. Rising ticket prices have helped make it a more commonplace occurrence, but it’s still a notable thing when so many titles manage it at once, particularly when it’s not during the top-grossing Thanksgiving and Christmas seshes.

Last week, it was the tourist-driven uptick in overall attendance, combined with a slew of spring shows that have proven unusually muscular at the box office, that have made the millionaires’ club so crowded.

So the usual suspects of longrunning top earners — “Wicked” ($1,985,154), “The Lion King” ($1,971,393) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,736,027) — have been joined by strong-selling newer titles such as “Kinky Boots” ($1,528,261) and “Motown” ($1,447,785). Among those spring openers, the continuing momentum for “Pippin” ($1,067,517) stands out, because at just 990 seats, the tuner revival had the smallest ticket inventory of any of the frame’s millionaires. (The show’s venue is even smaller than the 1,066-seater of “Mormon”).

In another mark that tourists were in town and Broadway enthusiasm was high: Overall average attendance came in at 224,627 or an impressive 91.4% of the Main Stem’s total capacity. Total cume rose to $25 million for 25 shows on the boards.

Such strong numbers won’t stick around forever. These late-June weeks are usually one of the peaks of summer box office before the outdoor distractions of the July 4 holiday cause tallies to taper off somewhat.

Besides that, not every top earner is in it for the long haul. Bette Midler starrer “I’ll Eat You Last” ($810,174) closed last week, along with Holland Taylor topliner “Ann” ($347,934). Tom Hanks juggernaut “Lucky Guy” ($1,364,021) is on its way out July 3.

So overall sales look poised to deflate in the coming frames. Judging from past years, though, the summer should remain relatively healthy  before the traditional back-to-school slump that hits after Labor Day.