As all of Broadway holds its breath for the impending Tony nominations, new titles including "Aladdin," "Beautiful" and "If/Then" have already attained strong sales momentum even before awards hype kicks in.
Overall Broadway sales fell last week in the wake of an Easter weekend spike, but the box office at shows such as "Aladdin" ($1,194,264) and "If/Then" ($1,004,383) were robust enough to land the titles in the week's millionaires' club. The $1,015,673 at "Beautiful" might actually be the most impressive number of the three, since the Carole King bio-musical plays in a relatively small theater of 1,026 seats. Consumer demand proved strong enough to push the average price paid per ticket up to $124.41.
Compare that to the more severe 23% slide at "Rocky" ($783,892), which didn't hold on to the additional traffic it picked up during the previous holiday week. "The Bridges of Madison County" (upticking to $351,946) also hasn't caught on with auds, even if it was one of the few shows to rise last week, while new plays "Mothers and Sons" ($192,942) and "The Velocity of Autumn" ($84,521), which opened last week to lukewarm reviews, continue to face an uphill battle at the box office.
In general, however, it appears that the spring 2014 crop of Broadway titles will have yielded nearly as many strong performers as last year's unusually muscular spring lineup.
The new revival of "Les Miserables" ($1,258,537), for instance, held on to the big-money sales it's reported since it began perfs, as did "A Raisin in the Sun" ($1,183,783), another show that's been posting major numbers since the Denzel Washington topliner launched. Bryan Cranston starrer "All the Way" ($994,085) remained healthy, especially for a nonmusical, and "Bullets Over Broadway" ($956,227), while not yet logging the blockbuster tallies its producers had hoped it would, still showed off a fair amount of sales power last week.
Neil Patrick Harris topliner "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" ($725,517), down due to press previews and an April 22 opening night, played to sellout crowds, while "Of Mice and Men" ($897,852), starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, broke the box office record at the Longacre Theater. "The Realistic Joneses" ($619,507) rose slightly, while "The Cripple of Inishmaan" ($579,630) and "Violet" ($360,849) each climbed following their shared April 20 opening.
With overall Broadway attendance slipping 20,000 to 307,631 (or 89% of capacity), B.O. cume fell $3.7 million to a still-healthy $31.7 million for 37 shows on the boards. There was enough cash to go around to keep 13 shows above the $1 million mark, with "The Lion King" ($2,143,746) and "Wicked" ($2,074,749) topping $2 million apiece.
All spring box office trends stand poised to come under the influence of the Tony nominations starting tomorrow morning, with critics' faves "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" ($470,784) and "After Midnight" ($488,203) among the shows hoping that awards-season love might light a fire at the box office.
2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLCCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun