Magic Show Recouped In Its Penultimate Week
On Sunday August 16, 2015, Penn & Teller on Broadway played its last performance at the Marquis Theatre. The famous magician duo came to Broadway for a strictly limited engagement of 6 weeks, including one partial week of previews which began on July 7, 2015. The official opening night took place on July 12, 2015. Throughout this short run, the show sold very well. There was a huge gross potential in the large Marquis Theatre, and the show never brought in more than 82.52% of this potential in any given week. Still, with more than a week to go in their six-week run, the producers announced that Penn & Teller on Broadway was a financial hit, having recouped its initial capitalization of $2.85 million. This amount is quite low for a Broadway show, but six weeks is extraordinarily low for the duration of a run on Broadway. Therefore, it is no small feat that this magic show managed to enter profits during its run. The best-selling week took place in the week ending August 9, 2015, when 12,145 people paid to see the show across the eight performances. The only other shows to bring in as many audience members were the best-selling musicals Wicked, Aladdin, The Lion King, and the newer show An American in Paris.
Overall Excellent Sales but a Downturn in the Final Week
Over the course of the six-week run, Penn & Teller on Broadway made a
steady climb in ticket sales. However, in the final week of the run, the week ending August 16, 2015, the show took a dip in sales. This is unusual, as most other shows manage to attract more audience members in their final week due to the last chance opportunity to see the show. However, everything about this show was unusual, from the short six-week duration of the show, to the fact that it is not a traditional play or musical, but instead a magic spectacle straight from Las Vegas. In the final week of sales, the show still brought in the impressive gross of $1,153,386, but this is a decrease of $268,702 from the week before, a 21.0% drop. People did pay more per ticket (the average paid admission went up from $117.09 the previous week to $122.71 in the final week), and yet the number of audience members went down (from the peak number of 12,145 to the lowest number of the run, 9,399 people). It is unclear why the final week demonstrated a decrease in interest to see the show. Perhaps the number of individuals interested in paying top dollar for a show in New York that is more suited for Las Vegas was saturated after just over 5 weeks. If this is the case, then the producers made the right choice in scheduling the show for a 6-week engagement.
Mixed Reviews that Did Not Sway Ticket Buyers’ Interest
After the show opened, there were mixed reviews from critics. Some were critical of the fact that the show was made up of seemingly simple tricks, such as the classic of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. However, this was clearly a crowd pleaser, and audiences did not shy away from rushing to the Marquis Theatre. Immediately after this run, the duo plans to return to Las Vegas where they have been performing together for 40 years. The six-week run was the longest break they could finagle from their producers at the Rio Hotel and Casino. Still, as demonstrated by the downturn in the last week of ticket sales, this may have also been the right move from a financial perspective.