Broadway Box Office Analysis, July 6-12: Did Cell Phone-Gate Boost Hand to God's Sales?

News   Broadway Box Office Analysis, July 6-12: Did Cell Phone-Gate Boost Hand to God's Sales?
Playbill's new weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.


Now in the very heart of summer and tourist season, Broadway rebounded from the low numbers of the previous July 4th weekend. Broadway’s collective box office was $26,270,648 last week, nearly $2 million more than the week before. The number of shows remained steady at 28, and the average paid admission climbed from $100.69 to $107.72.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Hand to God, the caustic comedy about a boy possessed by a foul-mouthed sock puppet, got some weird publicity last week when an obtuse audience member climbed onto the set and plugged his cell phone charger into the set's (non-functional) wall socket. The news, covered by the national press, surely brought the name of the play to more citizens' attention than anything else during its Broadway run. Does such a thing cause people to buy tickets to a show? Well, not yet, anyway. Box office and attendance numbers were slightly down, with performances playing to 69% capacity crowds.

The Book of Mormon usually comes in first place as Broadway’s box-office champ, but this week it fell to long-running Wicked, which took in 106.76% of its possible gross to Mormon’s 105.39%. Next up was the ever-strong Fun Home with 103.03% and The King and I with 102.36%.

Mormon also fell from its perch as the show that commanded the highest average ticket price. It did well this week, as always, with $165.91 a ducat. But The Lion King did better: a towering $170.32 average per ticket. Fish in the Dark, while no longer the sell-out attraction it was when its author Larry David was also its star, has shown slow and steady improvement each week its new star, Jason Alexander, has headed the cast. This week it did the same, going up at the box office by $7,213 to $861,784. There’s still room or improvement. Box office at the Cort is just 83% of the potential.

Amazing Grace, one of the newest kids on the Broadway block, has not been doing well in previews. This week it did a bit better. Box office climbed by $90,000. But overall gross was still only 27% of the possible take.

Finding Neverland, the musical about the man that birthed "Peter Pan," grossed $1,126,472.50 for the week. That was an improvement of the previous week at the Lunt-Fontanne.

The biggest box-office leap of the week belonged to Aladdin, which climbed $188,986 and the steepest decline was owned by The Phantom of the Opera, which fell $57,443.

New to the Street was Penn & Teller on Broadway. Over seven previews and one full performances, the comedy-magic show played to 76% capacity crowds and garnered 62% of the gross.

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