Hurricane Sandy definitely had an effect on Broadway ticket sales through the week ending October 28. All but four shows on the Great White Way experienced a decrease, and gross ticket sales were down $1.7 million, or 8.4 percent from the previous week.
According to figures posted by The Broadway League, ticket sales totaled $20 million through Sunday, down from the almost $21.8 million previously. With a city-ordered mass-transit shutdown in New York City, The Broadway League was forced to cancel all evening performances on Sunday, October 28 and Monday, October 29, which led to a steep decrease in sales for many shows.
“Not only did people choose not to attend much theatre on Sunday, October 28, they were also in many cases trying to evacuate their homes if they were in Zone A, and in most cases, were shopping for water and supplies, in preparation for the storm,” Amanda Pekoe, president of theatrical marketing and advertising company The Pekoe Group, told TicketNews®.
Somehow “Wicked” managed to weather the storm and came out on top this week with sales totaling nearly $1.7 million. “The Lion King” was finally knocked from the top spot as Sunday’s lights-out meant a loss of $287,662 and receipts totaling just $1.4 million. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and “The Book of Mormon” also experienced a decrease in sales of more than $200,000.
While nearly every show was affected by Sunday shutdowns, several shows were able to keep their losses below $200,000. “Mamma Mia,” “Evita,” “Mary Poppins,” “Chicago,” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It” were among the shows with a decrease in sales greater than $100,000. While almost all other shows had some sort of decrease, they were not nearly as significant.
Despite the chaos prior to Hurricane Sandy’s touchdown, crowds packed in to the Schoenfeld Theatre to catch Al Pacino in preview performances of “Glengarry Glen Ross”. This week the show played to over 98 percent capacity and earned over $1 million in ticket sales for the second week in a row, according to Broadway.com. Pekoe told TicketNews® that she is “only slightly surprised” by the significant increase in sales for the Pacino-led revival. “I would imagine that a huge percentage of the audience for this show is tourists who want to see Pacino, and therefore were staying in hotels in Manhattan, and Manhattan residents,” Pekoe said.
“Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons on Broadway” also had a successful week, finishing up its run with receipts totaling $770,182 and capacity at 89 percent. The show had one of the greatest increases this week, with sales up $136,282 over the previous week, according to Playbill.com. “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “The Heiress” also saw an increase in ticket sales.
The porn comedy “The Performers” began previews this week at the Longacre Theatre. The show earned $187,397 across seven performances and played to a crowd at 58 percent capacity.While Hurricane Sandy forced shows to cancel Sunday performances and take a hit in sales, the storm also forced shows to cancel Monday performances and several Tuesday and Wednesday performances; therefore, the true impact of the storm on the box office will likely be reflected in the current week’s figures.
Pekoe told TicketNews® that along with the cancellations, many shows are offering post-Sandy discounts on tickets to performances this week, which will also contribute to lower ticket sales.
To view the full listing of Broadway sales for the week ending October 28, 2012, visit The Broadway League.