The Great White Way is beginning to look like a ghost town as more shows play their final performances and the lineup continues to thin. Several Broadway shows, particularly the family-friendly productions, experienced decreased ticket sales through the week ending September 9 and for the shows that did see an increase in sales, the week-over-week gains were not very significant.
According to figures posted by The Broadway League, gross ticket sales on the Great White Way reached their lowest since back in March. Ticket sales totaled just $16.9 million, a decrease of 12 percent or $2.3 million from the previous week — 22 shows experienced a decrease while just six shows had increased ticket sales. Overall sales are expected to pick up with several openings scheduled from now through December.
Despite a decrease in sales, a packed audience helped “The Book of Mormon” take the top spot with ticket sales of $1.6 million. “The Lion King” comes in a close second with sales of $1.56 million and “Wicked” rounds out the top three with receipts totaling $1.3 million.
It was a bad week for “Wicked,” which had the greatest week-over-week decrease with sales down $387,217 and receipts totaling $1.3 million, according to Playbill.com. “ Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” also took a big hit with sales down $225,470 and capacity at just 86 percent. Ticket sales for “Newsies,” “The Lion King,” and “Mary Poppins” also decreased dramatically from the previous week.
“Nice Work If You Can Get It” had a dramatic increase in sales of nearly $400,000 following Matthew Broderick’s return from vacation; however, the show was unable to continue the momentum and this week sales were down $17,580 despite an increase in capacity of 4.1 percent over the previous week.
Broadway newcomer “Chaplin” is proving itself to critics who doubted the show’s success due to a lack of big-name actors. The show had the greatest increase in sales this week, up just over $98,000. “Chaplin,” which officially opened September 10, packed the Barrymore Theatre with an audience at 94.1 percent capacity, resulting in receipts totaling just under half a million. Fellow Broadway newbie, “Bring It On,” was not so lucky this week as sales for the musical dropped $113,378.
Just as one door closed, another opened. According to Broadway.com, “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” played its final performance on September 9 after a six month run with ticket sales totaling $685,991 through Sunday, up $36,216 from the previous week. It seems as though most theatergoers ran out to see the show previously as ticket sales were up by over $70,000 the previous week. The Manhattan Theatre Club’s “An Enemy of the People,” set to open September 27 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, began previews this week with sales of $158,664 across seven preview performances, playing to an audience at 76 percent capacity.
Despite the overall decline in sales leading up to the fall season, some shows are still managing to attract big audiences. “The Book of Mormon” isn’t the leader of the box office for no reason — the popular show played to an audience at 102.6 percent capacity this week. Other shows like “The Lion King” (99.5 percent), “Once” (96.2 percent), “Rock of Ages” (95.8 percent), “Newsies” (95.6 percent), and “Jersey Boys” (92.3 percent) continue to entertain packed Broadway audiences week after week.
Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
|Weekly Gross||Total Atten.||Prev.||Perf.||Total Capacity||Avg. Ticket Price||Atten. %|
|Bring It On
|Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
|Nice Work If You Can Get It
|Peter and the Starcatcher
|Porgy and Bess
|Rock of Ages
|The Book of Mormon
|The Lion King
|The Phantom of the Opera
All data provided by The Broadway League.