Without Any One Extraordinary Leap, Broadway Climbs as a Whole
In the week ending December 11, 2016, the Broadway industry had a healthy box office week. While there wasn’t one particular show that outshined the others as an anomaly, the overall industry took a collective climb. Of the 32 shows currently running, all but one – In Transit – saw an increase in ticket sales. The biggest increase was seen by The Lion King, which went up by $220,167 to reach a weekly gross of $2,119,872. Not far behind was the new musical Dear Evan Hansen, which reached its highest weekly gross to date after a slew of positive post-opening reviews. That show’s weekly box office had an increase of $217,025 to reach a weekly gross of $974,983. The next biggest increase was seen by Hamilton, which went up by $210,179 to reach a weekly gross of $2,443,438. A Bronx Tale the Musical also saw a much-needed increase of $189,373 to reach a weekly gross of $913,048, which represents 96.0% of its gross potential. Next was Wicked, which went up by $173,328 to reach a weekly gross of $1,909,374, which represents an impressive 107.3% of its gross potential. Holiday Inn also went up by $171,008 to reach a weekly gross of $783,544, which was also much needed. In addition, The Phantom of the Opera went up by $150,928 to reach a weekly gross of $948,989, Cats went up by $135,676 to reach a weekly gross of $975,199, and Jersey Boys went up by $129,235 to reach a weekly gross of $1,214,318.
This past week, when every single other show saw an increase in ticket sales, only In Transit saw a decrease. While that decrease was slight, going down by just $42,609, the show is also barely hanging on. After the show’s opening night on December 11, 2016, the New York Times gave the a cappella musical a negative review, as did several other publications. Others were on the fence, and only NBC of the major publications seemed to enjoy the show. This past week, In Transit brought in a weekly gross of $225,117, which represents just 30.67% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $249.00, the average paid admission was $44.95, and the audience was filled up to 95.1% of its capacity on average. Over the five weeks of the run so far, the average percentage reached of gross potential has been 34.81%. The best week so far was the first week of previews, which brought in $180,893 over 5 performances, which represented 39.43% of its gross potential. Time will tell whether the word of mouth will spread due to the post-opening reviews, and whether that might have any sort of positive impact on the weekly grosses, even though the reviews were mixed. In general, this show is a tough sell because there are no big stars in it. Although some names are recognizable such as Telly Leung, Justin Guarini, and David Abeles, overall it is an ensemble show that is difficult to present as anything other than an a cappella show about the lives of New Yorkers who ride the subway. The a cappella phenomenon was supposedly a selling point for the show, but unless it takes off to a greatly surprising degree, it will likely never reach the heights of the “The Sing Off” television show or the Pitch Perfect films.
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