Broadway Box-Office Analysis, Jan. 5-11: Numbers Drop as Stars Depart It's Only a Play and a Wicked Decline at Gershwin Box Office

News   Broadway Box-Office Analysis, Jan. 5-11: Numbers Drop as Stars Depart It's Only a Play and a Wicked Decline at Gershwin Box Office
 
Playbill's new weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.

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The number of shows playing Broadway plummeted last week from a robust 37 down to 29, and the box office went down along for the ride.

Composite Broadway gross last week was $42,773,882, with an average paid admission of $123.30. One week later, the Street’s box office stood at $23,765,668 — a drop of nearly 50%! — and average paid admission was $102.13.

Such a slide is seasonal, as it borne out by last year’s numbers. At this time in 2014, the all-around box-office number was $19,579,699 across 26 shows.

The attractions that have typically done well week in and week out killed it again last week. The Book of Mormon, Aladdin and The Elephant Man had no trouble filling their auditoriums. All three also sold in excess of the potential gross as well. The hit production of Terrence McNally’s comedy It’s Only a Play saw original cast members Nathan Lane, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally depart Jan. 4 and the box office took a hit as a result. New cast members Martin Short, Katie Finneran and Maulik Pancholy played to houses that were 91% full and box office was 61% of the potential, as opposed to the usual 100%-plus numbers the show charted much of last fall. The latter number took into account a drop at the box office of more than $750,000. Average ticket price last week was $88.95, a considerable dip from last week’s $171.68.

But, then, every show across the board clocked a notably lower box office figure than the week before — even the ones that played to sell-out houses — though some drops were more than others due to certain shows going back to a regular eight-show week, after a week of a holiday-time nine-show schedule. These included The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Kinky Boots.

Registering the smallest decline was the play Disgraced. It lost only $3,898 in box-office dollars, compared to last week. The drama has never been a box-office power, but producers did announce last week that the show would shutter March 1.

The biggest drop, meanwhile, was at Wicked, which descended an impressive $1,147,418 — from $2,740,641 last week to this week’s $1,593,224.

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