Broadway Records All-Time Weekly High at Box Office

News   Broadway Records All-Time Weekly High at Box Office Just a week after announcing that 2005 was the highest grossing year in the history of Broadway, the League of American Theatres and Producers has declared the seven-day period ending Jan. 1, 2006, to be the highest grossing week ever on Broadway.

The Street took in $25.2 million in that final week of 2005, and enjoyed the second highest audience capacity percentage in recorded history, at 93.9 percent. The gross is up 14.3 percent from the same period last season.

Out of 28 shows playing, the League reported, 20 houses were filled to more than 90 percent capacity, with nine of those theatres packing them in to the tune of 100 percent or more, including standing room.

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The trade organization—which has been proclaiming record-grossing weeks since the early summer—announced Dec. 28 that Broadway took in a record-breaking $825 million during 2005, a jump of 10.2 percent over the 2004 total of $749 million.

In another landmark, paid attendance for Broadway in 2005 reached 11.98 million, the highest such number in 20 years, and a 5.7 percent increase from 11.33 million in 2004. Theatre seats were 80.4 percent filled, the League also reported, calling the figure the highest level since 1997. Thirty-nine shows opened in the 2004 season. Playing weeks numbered 1,517, the highest in the past decade.

Among the factors assisting these numbers were the extraordinary circumstance of four new popular musicals opening last season—Spamalot, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Light in the Piazza—as well as such steady performers as The Lion King, Wicked and Hairspray, and popular new musicals like Jersey Boys and The Color Purple. Plays also thrived, with Doubt, Twelve Angry Men and The Pillowman proving popular. (Plays alone brought in a record-breaking $136,245,789 and 2.11 million in paid attendance in 2005.) Doing their part as well were sold-out phenomena such as Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Denzel Washington Julius Caesar, and the Nathan Lane-Matthew Broderick The Odd Couple.

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