Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Broadway Sets an Unprecedented Record

News   Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Broadway Sets an Unprecedented Record
Record-setting box-office takes greeted Broadway in the first days of 2016, starting this year off with a bang.


The week surrounding New Year’s had the same tonic effect on Broadway’s fortunes as the Christmas week had before it.

The achievement was official: The Broadway League reported that the week ending Jan. 3, 2016, was the best-attended and highest-grossing on Broadway in recorded history.

Cumulative collected monies soared from $36,271,797 to $43,065,466, a jump of nearly $7 million. Attendance jumped by nearly 60,000 to 357,718. Only three shows took a loss last week, and even those downturns were on the small side. The number of shows on The Street climbed by one to total 38, thanks to the addition of the new Richard Greenberg play Our Mother’s Brief Affair. A number of shows played nine-show weeks.

Caroline Bowman and Kara Lindsay
Caroline Bowman and Kara Lindsay Photo by Joan Marcus

The biggest pots went to long-runners Wicked and The Lion King, which took in $2,940,096 and $2,878,505, respectively. The former boomed the biggest, collecting $539,176 more than the previous week. Wicked’s numbers represented a crazy-robust 149 percent of its possible gross. The only show to come within swinging distance of that figure was Hamilton, which, with $1,959,785 in its till last week, raked in 147 percent of its gross.

You had to have close to a couple Benjamins, at least, to get into the top shows last week. The average ticket price at The Book of Mormon was $205.62. For The Lion King, it was $189.40 and at Hamilton, it was $182.39.

School of Rock – The Musical kicked off 2016 by breaking its own record-breaking week at the Winter Garden Theatre. The week previous to last, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical took in $1,506,236. This past week, it exceeded that number, grossing $1,671,622, with houses at 102.1 percent capacity. That represented 103.8 percent of gross potential. It helped matters that the new musical played a nine-show schedule over the New Year’s holiday week.

The Illusionists – Live on Broadway has something to crow about as well. The limited-run show grossed $1,801,327 for the week ending Jan. 3, beating the previous house record at the Neil Simon Theatre set by All the Way in 2014. The Illusionists, which played its final week, recouped its investment in just over six weeks of performances.

Finding Neverland, the musical over at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, had a good start to its year, enjoying its best-grossing week since beginning performances last March, taking in $1,477,174.50. Previously, its best week was that ending June 28, 2015, when it took in $255,000 less.

As for the new kid on the block, Our Mother’s Brief Affair played to houses that were at 66 percent capacity. The gross at the Friedman was only 24 percent over six previews. Those were the lowest numbers on Broadway last week. Most shows had capacities between 70 percent and 100 percent, with an impressive number of those shows in the 90 percent to 100 percent range. Even the long-flagging play Hand to God, in its final week on Broadway, played to houses that were 94 percent full.

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