Midsummer tourism brought another big-money week to Broadway with 11 shows raking in more than $1 million apiece, including James Franco-Chris O'Dowd starrer "Of Mice and Men," which claimed a spot in the millionaires' club for the first time thanks to last-minute business prior to the production's July 27 closing.
The rush of nick-of-time sales brought one final jolt of revenue to "Mice and Men" ($1,038,106), a strong-selling show that recouped its capitalization costs last month. The production will also take in additional box office from the National Theater's upcoming NT Live cinemacast of the play.
"Of Mice and Men" joined a list of millionaires led last week by two shows that cracked $2 million each, "The Lion King" ($2,304,798) and "Wicked" ($2,012,891). Two spring openers, "Aladdin" ($1,512,464) and "Beautiful" ($1,315,468), continued to prove themselves significant draws, crowding right up behind "The Book of Mormon" ($1,640,549) in the Top 10. Like "Mormon," "Beautiful" seems to have benefited from its relatively small theater, with heightened ticket demand helping to drive up the average price paid per ticket. ("Mormon" hit $187, while "Beautiful" came in at $159.)
Overall Broadway box office downticked just barely to $27 million for 27 shows on the boards. Cumulative attendance slipped by about 14,000, but average ticket price, a reliable barometer of Broadway demand, actually went up a couple of bucks to $109. That's because auds last week had two fewer shows to see after the July 20 closings of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" and "Holler If Ya Hear Me," not to mention the fact that two of the Street's most popular offerings, "Lion King" and "Mormon," each went back to eight-performance weeks following nine-show frames.
Nearly every title now running posted gains at the box office last week, and those that didn't slipped only negligibly. Tony champ "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" ($944,778) played to sellout houses, while Audra McDonald vehicle "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" ($556,537) came close to hitting 100% capacity.
Two spring titles that will go dark in August, "Rocky" ($701,805) and "Bullets Over Broadway" ($663,950), continued to report the middling sales that prompted their closing notices.
Looking ahead, Broadway can expect to see sales taper a bit over August. However, judging from box office performance in prior years, numbers for most shows should remain relatively robust -- at least until Labor Day, when the Main Stem suffers from its annual back-to-slump slump.
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