Broadway Box-Office Analysis, June 29-July 5: Wolf Hall Ends With a Whimper and Amazing Grace's Numbers Don't Sound Sweet

News   Broadway Box-Office Analysis, June 29-July 5: Wolf Hall Ends With a Whimper and Amazing Grace's Numbers Don't Sound Sweet
Playbill's new weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.


Broadway’s collective box office took a header last week, dropping nearly $4 million from $28,334,069 to $24,620,107. The number of shows had decreased from 29 to 28, but also the average paid admission slid from $109.60 to $100.81.

Wolf Hall, the two-part, English import, costume drama set in the time of Henry VIIl, limped to the end of its run. Unlike many other British visitors in recent seasons (including this past season’s The Audience, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Skylight), Wolf Hall was a regular box-office disappointment, never catching on with the public or managing to transform itself into must-see theatre event.

Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard in <i>Wolf Hall</i>
Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard in Wolf Hall Photo by Johann Persson

The drama’s final week of performances on Broadway was as weak as the others, playing to 59% capacity crowds and taking in only 31% of the potential gross. The box office numbers were a sizable drop from the previous week — down $169,013 — even though attendance was up by 1,059. The average ticket price, $52.82, was the lowest across Broadway, save the new Amazing Grace, which was $38.92. Grace played to seats that were 64% full, and collected a mere 18% of the gross.

Probably owing to the long, July 4th holiday weekend, most shows saw a descent in dollars at the box office. (Some productions played special holiday schedules, eliminating the July 4 Saturday evening performance rather than compete with the fireworks.) The biggest tumbles, all greater than $150,000, belonged to Wolf Hall, Wicked, Something Rotten!, On the Town and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Even The Book of Mormon was down $142,873. That spiral led the musical to almost lose its crown as the show with the greatest average ticket price. Usually, Mormon takes that title every week with ease, with no show coming within striking distance of its tariff. This past week, its average ducat was $157.94 — just 38 cents higher than the average ticket price of The Lion King.

The rare shows to see an increase at the box office included The King and I, The Lion King, Fish in the Dark (which picks up a little more steam each week Jason Alexander is in it) and Amazing Grace. The sell-out shows of the week were Aladdin, Fun Home, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and The King and I.

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