Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Star Names Continue to Earn Big Dollars at the Window

News   Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Star Names Continue to Earn Big Dollars at the Window
 
Forest Whitaker garners audiences, Blackbird's totals continue to soar, but the greatest jump at the till belongs to the musical about a precocious young girl.

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Broadway welcomed two additional shows last week, pushing the number of attractions in Times Square from 29 to 31. The cumulative box office increased accordingly, from $21,024,820 to $25,713,385, and attendance ascended by nearly 30,000 to 254,659. Not only that, but most shows displayed an uptick in attendance and box office, perhaps spurred along by the holiday weekend, which included Valentine’s Day. This was a welcome change from the previous week, which witnessed sizable drops in box-office monies at many shows.

The first week of previews for the new revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie immediately showed the box-office strength of star Forest Whitaker. Over seven previews at the Booth, the play ran to 96 percent capacity crowds. Box office was 48 percent of the potential draw. Overall take at the till stood at $330,398 at the 772-seat theatre.

Disaster, a new satirical musical starring a host of Broadway veterans, did not show as well at the Nederlander. House played to 68 percent capacity audiences, and the box office collections were 32 percent of its potential over eight previews. The monies taken in amounted to $364,575 at the 1,197-seat house.

After getting off to a handsome start during its first two previews, the two-hander Blackbird, starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, settled down a bit at the Belasco. Seats were 79 percent filled for the first full week of previews and the box office saw 56 percent of the gross. The Humans, meanwhile, showed strong staying power while in previews at the Helen Hayes. Its houses were at 91 percent capacity, even if it only raked in 44 percent of the gross.

Jeff Daniels in the 2007 Off-Broadway production
Jeff Daniels in the 2007 Off-Broadway production Photo by Joan Marcus

Did anyone beat Hamilton at the box office this week? Nope. The hit show counted out $1,792,099 at the box office, besting every other show, including The Lion King. It has done this for several weeks; quite an accomplishment, given that The Lion King’s Minskoff Theatre boasts nearly 400 more seats than Hamilton’s Rodgers Theatre. However, The Book of Mormon did have a higher average ticket price, at $169.65, but only by a few bucks; Hamilton’s was $166.69.

The biggest jump at the box office this past week belonged to long-timer Matilda, which spiked $291,411. Not far behind was Les Miserables with $294,464 and Finding Neverland with $283,887.

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