Cate Blanchett Makes Her Broadway Debut in “The Present”
In the week ending December 18, 2016, The Present began previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Playing just one performance this past week, the first preview on December 17, 2016, the show demonstrated strong box office potential. Cate Blanchett is one of the most celebrated actresses performing today, with seven Academy Award nominations and two wins for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine. She is frequently celebrated for her versatility, as demonstrated by her depiction of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, as well as 13 characters in her soon to be released new independent film, Manifesto. Hailing from Australia, Blanchett has performed onstage in her home country before, including the original production of The Present at Sydney Theatre Company, in addition to multiple other performances for that theatre since 2004 including The Maids, Gross und Klein, and Uncle Vanya. Nevertheless, this Broadway transfer of The Present marks the accomplish actress’ Broadway debut. This past week, the single first preview of The Present brought in $151,686, which represents 111.1% of the show’s gross potential. With a top ticket price of $272, the average paid admission was $144.33, and the audience was filled to 99.8% of its capacity. While a first preview can often diverge from future box office performance, in this case, it is fair to say that The Present has strong promise of being a hot ticket throughout its run.
This past week, Hamilton brought in $202,950 less than it had the week before. Of all the Broadway shows running, this was the biggest decrease of any show from the week before. Interestingly, this substantial decrease actually resulted in a slight increase in the percentage Hamilton reached of its gross potential. In the previous week, Hamilton had brought in a weekly gross of $2,443,438, which represented 102.81% of its gross potential. This past week, it brought in a weekly gross of $2,240,488, which represented 103.27% of its gross potential. In both weeks, the top ticket price was $549.00. The only telling figure in the publicly released numbers, therefore, is the average paid admission. In the former week, the average paid ticket was $227.23, whereas this past week it was $208.65. While for most shows, the average paid admission refers to how much the show had to discount its tickets in order to fill up the seats, in the case of Hamilton, where every seat is sold out many months in advance, it actually refers to the prices of the tickets as priced at the box office. Therefore, this past week, the tickets were priced, on average, slightly less than they had been the week before. That is why the total gross decreased, while the percentage reached of gross potential actually increased – because the gross potential was also lower. It is unclear why Hamilton would have chosen to price some of the tickets lower this past week as compared to the week before, but the answer must have something to do with dynamic pricing, whereby the producers alter the price of different tickets in the house each performance to accommodate anticipated demand. As such, even though Hamilton had a weekly gross that decreased from its previous week more than any other show, the demand for Hamilton is still completely saturated.
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