The Weather Turns at the Broadway Box Office

les-liaisons-dangereuses-253x177“Les Liaisons Dangereuses” Holding On in Previews

This past week, the week ending October 16, 2016, Les Liaisons Dangereuses played its first full week of eight performances on Broadway.  The previous week, it began with only one performance in the week according the the Broadway box office calendar.  In that first preview, the show did exceptionally well, bringing in $105,177 for that one performance, which represented 99.78% of its gross potential.  Still, it was difficult to judge the promise of the show based on one performance alone, and thus this past week was more telling for what the future may hold for this play.  This past week, the show still did quite well for a play in previews before it has officially opened, but it did not do quite as well as it did right out of the gate.  Over the course of eight preview performances, Les Liaisons Dangereuses brought in $644,591, which represents 76.44% of its gross potential.  With a top ticket price of $248.00, the average paid admission was $117.37, and the audience was filled up to an average of 88.2% of its capacity.  This show stars Tony winners Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, along with Mary Beth Peil, Ora Jones, and Elena Kampouris, in a production directed by Josie Rourke and transferred from the Donmar Warehouse in London.  Therefore, there is a high degree of credibility behind this show, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see New York theatre ticketbuyers responding positively in the early weeks.

A Slew of Ups and Down for the Overall Broadway Industry

This past week, not all shows saw an increase in ticket sales.  Of the 29 shows currently running, 11 saw an increase in ticket sales, and 18 saw a decrease.  The biggest increase was seen by Holiday Inn, which went up by $81,911 to reach a weekly gross of $486,226.  Despite the mixed reviews by critics, word of mouth did spread through the press received after opening night for this cotton candy musical.  The next biggest increase was seen by The Front Page, which went up by $57,382 to reach a weekly gross of $1,278,807, or 100.5% of its gross potential.  This play revival, which is still in its early weeks, is demonstrating strong promise of a successful box office run, and perhaps even a serious chance at recoupment.  Another new show this season, Falsettos, went up by $53,147, bringing it to a weekly gross of $457,577, or just 53.3% of its gross potential.  Other increases were seen by On Your Feet! (up by $52,894), Oh, Hello on Broadway (up by $48,161), Jersey Boys (up by $40,533), Beautiful (up by $35,711), Fiddler on the Roof (up by $15,143), and Paramour (up by $12,986).  On the other hand, decreases were seen by some of the bigger hit musicals, such as The Lion King (down by $93,183), Wicked (down by $66,654), Aladdin (down by $59,069), The Book of Mormon (down by $56,437), Hamilton (down by $50,263), School of Rock (down by $43,373), and Cats (down by $41,502).  Overall, this points to an interest in the shows new to the 2016 to 2017 season, even if they are revivals, and a slightly decreased interest in the longer running shows that proved their staying power last season.  Nevertheless, these decreases are negligible to such hit shows, and the overall impact on the Broadway industry was a neutral one, leaning towards the positive.

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With over 20 years experience in the Broadway field, including show marketing, production, development and investment, Jennifer R Jones is an all-around subject-matter-expert in the Broadway business. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and her iMac and tries to see at least five Broadway shows per week and when time will allow, will sneak in a daytime TV production for fun.
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