The spring holidays prompted a sales resurrection at the Broadway box office, with a trio of shows — Disney’s “The Lion King” and “Aladdin,” plus “Wicked” — stepping up to nine performances each last week, and scoring more than $2 million apiece because of it.
“Aladdin” ($2,024,667), which opened last spring, topped $2 million for the first time, whereas “Lion King” ($2,633,531) and “Wicked” ($2,358,372) are old hands at it. All three shows expanded their playing schedule last week to take advantage of the influx of tourists New York gets every year around the Easter and Passover holidays. (Passover began April 3 this year; Easter fell on April 5.)
With nearly 295,000 theatergoers hitting the Main Stem last week and demand pushing up the average price paid per Broadway ticket by about $2 to $100.40, previewing musicals benefited from the rise in traffic, too — particularly “Finding Neverland” ($1,153,212), “An American in Paris” ($967,151) and “The King and I” ($828,367), all logging best-yet sales.
With a whopping 13 shows now in previews, three of them kicked off press performances last week, including “Gigi” ($585,448), which managed to rise despite handing out those comp tickets. British history marathon “Wolf Hall” ($689,541) slipped but still looked healthy enough, whereas “Hand to God” ($213,302) is betting the Almighty — or at least the critics — will spur sales once reviews hit this week.
Meanwhile, “Something Rotten!” ($507,102), a new musical comedy with zero name recognition, picked up some steam, while fellow musicals “It Shoulda Been You!” ($310,872) and “The Visit” ($214,803), have been slower to gain momentum. New plays with unfamiliar titles, “Living on Love” ($126,172 for five previews) and “Airline Highway” ($90,799 for six previews), started predictably slow.
With all those shows targeting the Tony race this year, the 2014 trophy champ, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($617,753), recouped its $7.5 million capitalization last week, about a year after the Tony win that turned around its struggling sales.
The one production to open last week, “Skylight” ($625,494), managed to climb at the box office despite accommodating press performances and a heavily comped opening night, indicating that the production is already benefiting from the strong reviews earned by Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy in the revival of the David Hare play.
One show, “Honeymoon in Vegas” ($368,966), closed but didn’t seem to get any boost in last-minute sales at all, posting box office numbers about on par with the previous week.
Overall Broadway sales rose $1.6 million to $29.6 million for 36 shows on the boards. Attendance hit 86% of overall capacity.
With “Hand to God,” “Gigi” and “Wolf Hall” up at bat to open this week, and even more previewing shows including “Doctor Zhivago” ($368,018 for seven previews) and “Fun Home” ($310,222 for seven) ramping up their performance schedules, Broadway’s packed with shows hoping the holiday boost will keep cash registers ringing all this week, too.