×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Wicked’ Hits $1 Billion on Broadway Faster Than Any Other Show

The enduringly popular musical “Wicked” has hit $1 billion at the Broadway box office, 12½ years after it opened in 2003 and snowballed into a global mega-smash.

The show has achieved the milestone faster than any other Broadway production that has topped $1 billion in New York sales alone — an elite pantheon of which there are only two other members, “The Lion King” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” Disney juggernaut “The Lion King” was the first to do it in 2013, 16 years after its 1997 bow, and evergreen “Phantom” followed in 2015, some 27 years after its 1988 premiere. (Back when “Phantom” opened, a sold-out smash translated to about $550,000 in late-’80s dollars, a far cry from the $3.2 million “Wicked” scored over a record-breaking holiday week in 2013.)

“Wicked” has spent the majority of its run at or near the top of Broadway’s weekly sales chart. The $1 billion cumulative take accounts for about one quarter of the title’s $4 billion worldwide sales; more than $2.8 billion of that comes from the show’s other North American companies, including tours and sit-down productions in Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco.

Internationally, the musical has played to 50 million people in 14 countries, including Japan, Mexico and Australia, and been translated into six languages. A West End outpost has been running in London since 2006.

For the broader entertainment industry, “Wicked” has long served as one of the clearest illustrations of the enormous potential of a hit stage musical. “Wicked” qualifies as one of the most profitable properties in the entire catalog of its movie-studio backer, Universal Pictures, while “Lion King” turned heads two years ago when its $6.2 billion in worldwide sales made it the highest-grossing title in any medium.

Adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel by book writer Winnie Holzman (“My So-Called Life”) and composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz (“Pippin,” “Godspell”), “Wicked” tells the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West and her unexpected friendship with Glinda the Good Witch. Film producer Marc Platt (“Bridge of Spies”), Universal Stage Productions, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone produce.

Idina Menzel, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Elphaba, and Kristin Chenoweth led the cast in 2003. The Broadway incarnation now stars Rachel Tucker and Carrie St. Louis.

More Legit

  • Emilia review

    West End Review: 'Emilia'

    We know next to nothing of the “Dark Lady of the Sonnets” — nothing beyond what Shakespeare tells us in 26 stanzas of overblown verse. Her eyes were nothing like the sun, of course – “raven black,” so he claims – and her lips were either paler than coral, as in Sonnet 130, or else [...]

  • Guys and Dolls

    'Guys and Dolls' Getting Remade at TriStar (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Guys and Dolls,” the venerable Broadway musical, is set to return to the big screen. TriStar Pictures has purchased remake rights to the original Damon Runyon short stories about gamblers and gangsters that inspired the shows, as well as the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and [...]

  • Sutton Foster

    Sutton Foster Starring Opposite Hugh Jackman in Broadway's 'The Music Man'

    “The Music Man” has found its Marian, the librarian. Sutton Foster, the two-time Tony Award winner, will star opposite Hugh Jackman in the upcoming revival of “The Music Man.” She will play Marian Paroo, a small-town librarian who is initially immune to Professor Harold Hill’s charms. It’s a role that was previously performed by the [...]

  • 'Black Super Hero Magic Mama' Review

    L.A. Theater Review: 'Black Super Hero Magic Mama'

    What function do superhero stories play in American society? Are they merely escapist distractions for head-in-the-clouds teens, or could those same formats actually serve a practical function, providing useful tools for everyday life? Recognizing these comic book fantasies as by far the dominant form of contemporary mythmaking for a generation of young people, emerging playwright [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Ain't Too Proud review

    Broadway Review: 'Ain't Too Proud'

    In the wake of the long-running “Jersey Boys” and the short-lived “Summer,” director Des McAnuff is back on Broadway with another show built around the song catalog of a music act — and although “Ain’t Too Proud” has all the right sounds and slick moves, this bio-musical of the R&B vocal group the Temptations is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content