×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway Box Office: ‘Spider-Man’ Leads Broadway’s Labor Day Pains

Comicbook tuner continues to post notably low numbers as the fall slump hits the Rialto

The autumn back-to-school slump hit Broadway hard last week, with overall box office totals falling like leaves — and superhero tuner “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” emerging as the production with perhaps the most cause for concern.

The musical, which habitually lands in the millionaires’ club but carries notoriously high weekly running costs, dipped below the $1 million mark a couple of weeks ago, unusually early pre-Labor Day timing for a show popular with tourist auds. That could have been a fluke, though, or perhaps fallout from the show’s latest actor accident Aug. 15.  But after a second frame of posting sales just below $1 million, last week the tuner pulled in just $790,714 for eight performances.

That’s the production’s lowest tally since its $200,000 debut in its very first week of previews — when it played just one lone perf. Attendance last week fell by nearly 10% (to 9,631), more than the Street-wide average of about 4.5%.

It remains to be seen if the musical’s current downswing reps a temporary fluctuation or an indicator of a more severe trend. Should the latter prove the case, doubts will begin to be raised about just how long the musical can hold onto its Broadway house. (The musical still has plenty of revenue potential, however, in its brewing international and touring incarnations.)

Both of this week’s tyro entries, Zachary Quinto starrer “The Glass Menagerie” ($318,952 for six perfs) and musical “Big Fish” ($383,543 for four) posted relatively healthy tallies for titles just starting their runs. But that new coin wasn’t enough to stop the overall downward slide that traditionally hits the Rialto in the early September weeks when consumers’ attention is more focused on getting back into the swing of school or work, rather than on taking in a Broadway show.

Every single ongoing production posted declines in the wake of Labor Day, starting at the top of the charts, although still-hot musical “The Book of Mormon” ($1,692,289) was barely dented by the seasonal downturn. That show beat out “The Lion King” ($1,680,327) for the top spot, while last spring’s Tony fave, “Kinky Boots” ($1,507,607), held onto enough business to muscle ahead of “Wicked” ($1,373,885) for the first time.

The revivals of “Annie” ($595,536), which recently posted its closing notice, and “Cinderella” ($686,831) both slipped notably low, likely hobbled by back-to-school distractions for the family auds that make up a large chunk of each show’s target demo. Another spring musical with little-girl appeal, “Matilda” ($1,099,556), dropped a whopping $235,000, but still held onto its place in the millionaires’ club.

Among the fall openers currently in previews, Orlando Bloom starrer “Romeo and Juliet” ($442,142) was off somewhat but nonetheless held relatively steady in a tough week. “Forever Tango” ($190,462) continued its slide, and the Jewish holiday at the end of last week did no favors for the Street’s struggling musical about a guitar-playing rabbi, “Soul Doctor” ($110,717).

The double-whammy of the Labor Day return to school plus the fall’s Jewish holidays usually spells trouble for the Broadway box office, and there’s still Yom Kippur to contend with later this week. But there’s a silver lining: With early-bird starts for a number of fall offerings — both “Romeo and Juliet” and “Glass Menagerie” open later this month — there’s a chance recovery may be closer than usual.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works

    Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works as a Movie From Heyday, BBC Films

    David Heyman’s Heyday Films, whose credits include “Gravity,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Marriage Story” and the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, and BBC Films have secured the film rights to Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s musical “Follies.” “Follies” will be adapted for the screen and directed by Dominic Cooke, a four-time Olivier [...]

  • Tina Turner The Musical

    How 'Tina: The Tina Turner Musical' Tells the Icon's Traumatic Story

    It wasn’t the response Tali Pelman had hoped to receive. The group creative managing director of Stage Entertainment had traveled to Küsnacht, Switzerland, with one goal in mind: Convince Tina Turner that her life could be the stuff of a successful stage musical. “We walked in the door,” Pelman remembers. “Tina was already there, and she greeted [...]

  • Ben McKenzie

    'Gotham' Star Ben McKenzie to Make Broadway Debut in 'Grand Horizons'

    “Gotham” star Ben McKenzie will make his Broadway debut in Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons.” He joins a cast that includes Oscar nominees Jane Alexander (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “The Great White Hope”) and James Cromwell (“Babe,” “L.A. Confidential”). The show has a strictly limited 10-week run and begins previews on Dec. 23, 2019, before officially opening [...]

  • The Great Society review

    Listen: Brian Cox on 'Succession,' Shakespeare, and the Crisis We're In

    Brian Cox is having a pop-culture moment with “Succession,” the buzzy HBO series in which he stars. But he’s also an accomplished theater actor with plenty of experience doing Shakespeare — and it serves him well in both “Succession” and in his current Broadway show, “The Great Society.” Listen to this week’s podcast below: Cox [...]

  • Scooby Doo Ella Louise Allaire Martin

    Scooby-Doo Live Theater Tour Is Goofy Dane's Latest Adventure

    From its 1969 start as a Saturday morning kids mystery cartoon series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” starring its titular, talking Great Dane and his four teenaged friends, has made adventure its staple. Once Hanna-Barbera’s successor, Warner Bros. Animation, took the leash, Scooby and company became a comic book, a board game, a series of video [...]

  • Tootsie Santino Fontana

    'Tootsie' Ending Broadway Run in January

    “Tootsie,” the critically acclaimed musical adaptation of the 1982 classic film comedy, will play its final Broadway performance on Jan. 5, 2020. When it wraps up its run, the show will have logged 293 regular and 25 preview performances at the cavernous Marquis Theatre, where it sometimes labored to draw big crowds. Last week, “Tootsie” [...]

  • Laurel Griggs

    Laurel Griggs, Broadway and 'SNL' Actress, Dies at 13

    Laurel Griggs, who starred in Broadway’s “ONCE the Musical” as Ivanka, has died. She was 13. An obituary posted to Dignity Memorial indicates she died on Nov. 5, and Griggs’ grandfather wrote on Facebook that her death was due to a massive asthma attack. Griggs made her Broadway debut when she was six years old [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content