It’s that time of year again: the kids go back to school, the vacationers return home, and in turn, Broadway show sales decline. The post-Labor Day box office took a huge hit of 15% as city tourism slowed down for the season, with sales down in almost every production.
Last week’s sales for the 27 shows on Broadway were down $4.2 million from the week prior, with a cumulative gross of $23.6 million, as reported by Variety. Attendance fell by more than 17,000, totaling 220,403, or 84% of capacity. After one of its best, most record-breaking summers, this week’s stats marked a six-month low for sales on Broadway.
One of the biggest drop-off’s came from the typically chart-topping Hello, Dolly!, but star of the show Bette Midler’s planned vacation that week may have been the biggest factor. The show was still the eighth highest-grossing with alternate Donna Murphy filling in, but Midler’s absence cost the show a hefty $1.36 million in sales. This could be a telling sign as to how the show will fare once Midler leaves for good to be replaced by Bernadette Peters in January.
Other shows with sizeable losses of over $200,000 according to Forbes were tourist favorites The Lion King, Wicked, School Of Rock and Aladdin. The only shows with decent boosts were the revived Cats and A Bronx Tale. Other big earners were, of course, Hamilton, which saw an eight week streak of $3 million plus gross sales and at some points, accounted for almost 10% of the entire industry’s sales, and the critically acclaimed Dear Evan Hansen, which was the third highest grossing with $1,678,438 in sales.
The sudden end of Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812, which was grossing over $1 million most weeks before it’s fateful racially-charged casting controversy, didn’t help to cushion this inevitable end-of-summer slump, either.
Other shows to catch before they (likely) leave Broadway on September 17 are Groundhog Day and Bandstand.