Independence Day didn’t set off any fireworks at the Broadway box office last week — but at least the Rialto held steadier than the cineplex.
Compared to a dreadful weekend at the movies that saw a sales drop of more than 40% compared to last year’s holiday frame, the Broadway box office cume of $25,117,615 were actually up vs. last year’s July 4 numbers, when sales for the holiday week came in at $22.8 million.
Still, no shows were popping champagne. The 2013 tally was for 23 shows running at the time, while this year’s total was for a bulkier slate of 30 titles. That means demand was higher last year, with the 2013 average price paid per ticket weighing in at close to $110 vs. the $100 posted this year.
Compared to the prior week, Broadway sales fell a significant $4.7 million (or 16%) and attendance slid by nearly 10% to 250,849.
At least no one could say they didn’t see it coming. The outdoor celebrations associated with July 4 usually tend to hobble Broadway sales, and the forecast reflected that this year. Unlike last year — when a bumper crop of spring openers managed to hit new heights over Independence Day — nearly every single individual title on the Street logged a decline last week.
Predictably, the few titles to increase during the frame were among the Main Stem’s oldest, most enduring tourist magnets. “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,0001,126) saw the biggest rise, stepping up into the millionaires’ club, while “Chicago” ($526,548) upticked. So did the “The Lion King” ($2,066,169), which inflated enough nab the No. 1 spot on the Top 10.
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Among the Broadway lineup’s newer shows, both “Aladdin” ($1,498,146) and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($1,023,210) remained steady, while “Beautiful” ($1,180,965) and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($886,839) were among the shows to downshift.
In a crowd full of week-to-week declines, “Cinderella” ($658,070) stood out with a hefty slide of 29%, while — perhaps more alarmingly since it’s a newer show — “Bullets Over Broadway” ($492,009) dropped 18%. “Motown” ($833,702) was off 16%.
With three shows shuttering the previous sesh, last week saw the exit of “The Realistic Joneses” ($420,300), down just barely in its final frame. That departure leaves “Of Mice and Men” ($755,356), the James Franco-Chris O’Dowd starrer that recouped last month, and Daniel Radcliffe topliner “The Cripple of Inishmaan” ($467,389) as the only non-musicals on the boards at the moment — unless you count the play-with-music “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” ($471,917), doing well enough to announce an extension to Sept. 21.
With July 4 out of the way, Broadway can now get back to its usual robust summer sales, when tourist traffic is abundant enough that Broadway’s most popular shows have begun scheduling a handful of nine-performance weeks to take advantage of the hot-weather business.