Thanksgiving Week is a Boon for Broadway Box Office

Collective Box Office Increases By Almost 8 Million Dollars

top 5 broadway showsThis past week, the week ending November 26, 2017, included the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  With the influx of visitors and the holiday days off from work, the Broadway box office saw a huge upsurge.  Across the 31 shows currently running, the collective box office was $39,079,348, which is an increase of $7,932,031 from the week before.  The per-show average this past week was $1,260,624, in comparison to the per-show average last week of $1,004,752.  Of the 31 shows, all but six saw an increase in ticket sales.  The biggest increase was seen by long-running family favorite Wicked, which went up by $936,883 to reach a weekly gross of $2,401,024, which represents 134.9% of its gross potential.  Other large increases were seen by The Lion King, which went up by $893,129 to reach a weekly gross of $2,651,314, or 104.2% of its gross potential, as well as School of Rock, which added a ninth performance this past week and increased by $723,709 to reach a weekly gross of $1,512,366, or 92.1% of its gross potential.  In addition, Aladdin went up by $637,931 to reach a weekly gross of $2,004,459, or 92.8% of its gross potential, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory went up by $635,082 to reach a weekly gross of $1,479,548, or 106.4% of its gross potential, and Hamilton went up by $627,442 to reach a weekly gross of $3,453,772, or 111.8% of gross potential.  The list goes on of massive increases, as The Phantom of the Opera went up by $535,891 to reach a weekly gross of $1,387,400, Anastasia went up by $378,161 to reach a weekly gross of $1,245,372, and SpongeBob SquarePants went up by $306,277 to reach a weekly gross of $881,481.

“M. Butterfly” and “Home for the Holidays” Flounderm butterfly

Despite this overall surge in box office, a few shows demonstrated their stubborn failure to bring in an audience.  The biggest decrease seen this past week was by M. Butterfly, which is a revival of the David Henry Hwang play directed by Julie Taymor, the director of The Lion King.  Following poor reviews, this revival seems doomed to financial mediocrity.  This past week, the show saw a decrease in ticket sales of $182,646, bringing it to a weekly gross of $382,056, or just 40.0% of its gross potential.  With a top ticket price of $247, the average paid admission was $95.51, and the audience was filled up to just 46.9%, a steep decrease from the previous week’s audience capacity of 72.7%.  This demonstrates the need for M. Butterfly to offer steeper discounts, but perhaps they are reluctant to do so as they are in denial that the show is such a failure.  home for the holidaysMeanwhile, a new show Home for the Holidays is destined for even worse results.  Despite playing three more performance’s than the past week’s partial first week of five previews, Home for the Holidays managed to decrease even further by $2,804, bringing it to a weekly gross of $48,496 over eight performances.  While last week’s gross amounted to just 5.51% of gross potential, this week was even worse, amounting to only 3.27% of gross potential.  These numbers seem dangerously close to the theatre’s contractual stop clause, whereby the landlord has the right to evict a poorly performing show.  In such a case, the performers would in fact be home for the holidays, rather than on the Broadway stage.

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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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