Disney Theatrical Prods. is having something of a magic moment on Broadway this summer: As the long-lead closing announcement of "Newsies" has yielded a spike of last-minute sales, the company's newest offering, "Aladdin," just broke the box office record at the New Amsterdam Theater, besting tallies posted by prior DTP occupants "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King."
Marking the familiar family title's drawing power, "Aladdin" ($1,602,785) has played to essentially full houses since the production began previews Feb. 26. Ticket demands seems only to have risen over the summer, yielding higher average prices paid per ticket (last week weighing in at $116) and higher grosses as well. It makes for a nice addition to the Disney slate alongside "Newsies" ($929,159), gaining some steam in one of its final weeks on the boards, and the perennial megahit "The Lion King" ($2,295,313), reigning at number one on the Top 10 last week.
"Aladdin" isn't the only spring opener to hit it big on Broadway this summer. "Beautiful" ($1,325,505) -propelled by the Tony win for lead actress Jessie Mueller as well as by the seal of approval from the bio-tuner's subject Carole King -- continues to rake it in, and the stellar sales for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" ($1,087,988) look poised to rise even more this week as Neil Patrick Harris plays his last performances in show.
Tony fave "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" ($834,051) took a step down the sales ladder, but that was largely attributable to the weeklong vacation of star Jefferson Mays, whose eight-character performance is one of the talking points of the musical comedy.
Among the softer-selling shows this spring, "Rocky" ($795,275), now entering its final week, upticked a bit but still not enough to make producers second-guess posting the show's closing notice for Aug. 17. "Bullets Over Broadway" ($665,229), closing Aug. 24, also rose, but only slightly.
Overall, Broadway sales have remained steady and strong in these final tourist-fueled weeks of the summer. Broadway cume weighed in at $25.9 million for 26 shows on the boards, with the small week-to-week drop in total gross easily accounted for by the fact that "Lion King" and "Wicked" ($2,059,477) each went back to eight-performance weeks after adding an extra ninth curtain the prior sesh. Attendance slipped by just 4,500 to 237,242, or 92% of overall capacity.
With "Rocky," "Bullets" and "Newsies" soon to follow "Violet" ($416,276) -- which closed Sunday to a nice sales spike -- out the door, Broadway is cleaning house ahead of the coming cascade of fall openings, launching with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin starrer "This Is Our Youth," starting previews Aug. 18.
Related storiesMore Princess Power Added to 'Disney Infinity' with 'Aladdin' CharactersBroadway Box Office: 'Of Mice and Men' Breaks $1 Million in its Final WeekWill 'Shakespeare in Love' Brave Broadway? 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLCCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun