Upward Swing Propels Industry After Slow Week
In the week ending December 10, 2017, the Broadway industry continued its volatility by swinging upward almost as much as it swung downward the previous week, prior to which it had another high week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. This past week, across the 32 shows currently running, the collective box office gross was $35,260,255, which amounts to a per-show average of $1,101,883, and which is an increase of $5,277,408 from the week before. With an average top ticket price of $334.20, the average paid admission across all shows was $133.34, and the average audience capacity was 87.96%, up from 84.54% the previous week. Of these 32 shows, only 4 saw a decrease in ticket sales, and those decreases were negligible. The biggest decrease was only $18,308, as seen by M. Butterfly, which continues to bring in low grosses ever since it earned poor post-opening reviews. This past week, that show brought in $391,626, which represents 41.4% of its gross potential. The other shows to decrease slightly were The Band’s Visit, which went down by $13,136 to reach a weekly gross of $1,079,793, or 103.9% of its gross potential, outstanding for a new musical, as well as Junk, which went down by just $7,411 to reach a weekly gross of $474,042, and Latin History for Morons, which went down by $4,449 to reach a weekly gross of $452,915. Meanwhile, large increases were seen by such shows as The Lion King, which went up by $217,449 to reach a weekly gross of $2,305,294, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which went up by $163,887 to reach a weekly gross of $1,010,185, Aladdin, which went up by $151,217 to reach a weekly gross of $1,617,787, Once on This Island, which went up by $148,034 to reach a weekly gross of $543,614, Cats, which went up by $120,002 to reach a weekly gross of $898,993, Come From Away, which went up by $111,292 to reach a weekly gross of $1,361,164, and Meteor Shower, which went up by $100,293 to reach a weekly gross of $971,021, or 100.9% of its gross potential in spite of mixed reviews.
This past week, Farinelli and the King began previews on December 5, 2017, playing seven performances in its first partial week of performances. Right out of the gate, this play about King Philippe V of Spain has done quite well for a new British transfer, bringing in a gross of $767,377 across the 7 performances, which represents 94.3% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $297, the average paid admission was $109.56, and the audience was filled up to 95.2% of capacity on average. This first week illustrates that Mark Rylance has considerable box office pull on Broadway, despite only recently having become a household name in the U.S. Through such movies as The BFG and Bridge of Spies, Rylance is now well-known to audiences beyond the world of theatre, and the excitement of his starring in a new play has incentivized an almost sell-out audience, at least in this first week. Time will tell whether this box office momentum continues, and the reviews after the opening night on December 17, 2017 will also be quite telling as to the financial future of this play. Nevertheless, this play is evidence that solid creative producing can take a play far, even in spite of the odds in this high commercial sphere of Broadway.