Broadway Box Office: Sweating Out the Late-Summer Doldrums

The languor of the latter weeks of August has taken its usual bite out of Broadway box office, with last week’s figures down nearly across the boards and the few shows to buck the trend — including “Finding Neverland” (pictured above) — posting only the very slightest of gains.

Returning to the millionaires’ club after dropping out of it the prior frame, “Finding Neverland” ($1,011,088) climbed about $23,000 — a small sum that counts as the largest rise of the week, unless you’re talking about percentages, in which case the “Amazing Grace” ($308,474) bump of $9,600 takes the lead at, uh, 3% higher than the previous session. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($409,679) stepped up by about the same dollar amount in the wake of posting its closing notice for Sept. 13, while “Something Rotten!” ($1,006,235) rose by $1,200.

Similarly, there were dips that seemed so minimal that they counted as holding steady: Ultra-hot “Hamilton” ($1,456,753), “The Book of Mormon” ($1,443,333), the soon-to-shutter “Mamma Mia!” ($978,350) and “Fun Home” ($749,863) all registered the most minor of downturns. A lot of the larger drops, meanwhile, came at the big hits that could well afford them, such as “The Lion King” ($1,986,190), “Wicked” ($1,751,974) and “Aladdin” ($1,720,395).

Shows that are often tourist magnets, such as “Beautiful” ($886,955) and “Kinky Boots” ($858,668), fell more into the middle of the chart as city visitors began to dry up. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” ($759,779), one of only two plays currently on the boards, fell 12%, but still looked good for a long-running non-musical.

Overall Broadway cume slid $2.5 million to $22.5 million for 24 shows on the boards. Attendance slipped by 15,000 to 211,799, or 85% of the Rialto’s total capacity. Average price paid per ticket, which can serve as a barometer of consumer demand, dropped $4.40 to $106.03.

Looking ahead, Labor Day usually offers somewhat of a lift at the box office, but it’s often not a major one. The back-to-school days of early September are among the rougher patches on Broadway, but at least they’ve been smoothed out a bit in recent years with the advent of Broadway Week, which this year will aim to boost traffic with two-for-one ticket deals for performances Sept. 7-20.

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