A lot of Broadway shows posted big-money sales last week, as “Aladdin” and “The Book of Mormon” took advantage of tourist demand with an extra performance each, and a full dozen titles pulled in more than $1 million apiece. But despite that, the annual August slippage seems to have begun.
“Aladdin” ($2,078,163 for nine) set a new house record at the New Amsterdam Theater and muscled up to the second rung of the top 10, coming in just behind fellow Disney title “The Lion King” ($2,333,537, playing the usual eight). Meanwhile, “The Book of Mormon” ($1,605,195) also played nine to accommodate heightened summer business.
Overall, it was a healthy week for the Rialto’s highest-profile draws, ranging from “Wicked” ($1,980,056) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,068,693) to newer outings like “An American in Paris” ($1,356,715), “Finding Neverland” ($1,058,371) and “Something Rotten!” ($1,055,303). “Penn & Teller on Broadway” ($1,422,088) continued its robust limited run (and, according to producers, recouped its $2.85 million capitalization last week), while “Hamilton” ($1,255,163) raked in plenty even though it predictably downshifted, thanks to last week’s critics’ performances and heavily comped opening night.
But the signs of late-summer deceleration were there — in Broadway’s overall total itself, with the cume slipping about $2.4 million to $26.4 million, and in the attendance drop of about 15,000 to 244,693. Confirming that overall ticket demand was lower last week than it was the prior frame, the average price paid per admission came down by about $3 to $107.96.
Besides, not every musical could draw a crowd. “Amazing Grace” ($272,287) continued to struggle, as did “On the Town” ($460,190), which, after opening last fall, has at last opted to throw in towel with producers setting a closing date of Sept. 6. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($396,374) and the play “Hand to God” ($288,012) also languished toward the bottom of the chart.
On the other hand, “It Shoulda Been You” ($494,033) hit its highest tally ever — but then, that was due to a last-minute pickup in sales before the show’s Aug. 9 closing.
“Hamilton” will likely jump back up next week, and “Penn & Teller” seems poised to rise in its final week, but overall box office will probably continue to slip as Broadway moves toward the big sales drop that often occurs in the back-to-school time of early September.