How Much Does It Cost To Produce A Big, Beautiful Broadway Show? List Of The Top Ten Most Expensive Shows In Broadway History And There’s Only One Play Among A Sea Of Splashy Musicals.

In Hollywood, nobody seems to scoff at the exorbitant costs of making a movie. On average, a major studio film, when all is said and done, costs around $100 million. Even with those astronomical numbers, movie ticket prices remain relatively low. Naturally, the film industry relies on volume to see financial returns. Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar: The Way of Water each ran up an estimated tab of $450 million!

By comparison, Broadway endeavors are downright cheap. Of course, there’s a lot more at stake. A big budget movie flop can come and go in a weekend but on the Great White Way, expensive productions can have a major impact on the local economy as well as producers, investors, actors, writers and everyone else who helps live theatre come to certain life.

Top 10 Most Expensive Broadway Shows Ever Made

Dance of The Vampires

10. Dance of the Vampires: $15.2 million

The infamous remake of Roman Polanski’s film The Fearless Vampire Killers had a score by Jim Steinman, frequent Meatloaf collaborator. After a long and bumpy birthing, the show finally opened in December of 2002 at the Minskoff Theatre where it ran for only 56 performances. Those vampires sucked approximately $12 million of the $15.2 Million that it cost to put on the show.


9. Matilda: $16 Million

The musical based on the classic Roald Dahl novel enjoyed a pretty healthy run on Broadway that lasted for more than 1500 performances. Winner of 5 Tony Awards in 2013 and ample critical acclaim, the show was by all metrics a success. It even recouped its $16 million investment which is anything but revolting.


8. Tarzan: $16 million

In the now common tradition of pop songwriters taking over Broadway, British hitmaker Phil Collins penned the songs for this adaptation of Disney’s Tarzan. The story chronicles the life of the titular character who is raised by gorillas in West Africa. Opening in 2006 and closing the following year, neither audiences nor critics went ape for the tepidly received musical.

Little Mermaid

7. The Little Mermaid: $16.6 million

It’s no surprise that Disney has several entries on this list given its penchant for spectacle and spending. Ariel and crew kept the show afloat for 685 performances but the venture never really got its sea legs. The property continues to see success internationally and across other platforms. Those Broadway investors, though, turned out to be poor, unfortunate souls.

Beauty and The Beast

6. Beauty and the Beast: $17.4 million

Once in a while, lightning strikes and for Belle, book and company, audiences were all too happy to be their guest. The classic fairy tale ran for 13 years from 1994-2007, clocking in at 5,461 performances. Its infectious score and family friendly fare overcame a mixed critical reception and as a result, the juggernaut recouped its investment many times over.

Shrek The Musical

5. Shrek, The Musical: $24 million

It’s no surprise that popular film adaptations require exponentially higher funding as there’s an expectation in place that the stage iteration will be evocative of the cinematic one. DreamWorks entered the Broadway game at the tail end of 2008 where its freak flag flew for over a year. While not a dismal failure, the failure to recoup was hardly an ogre-knight success story.

Lion King

4. The Lion King: $27.5 million

Opening in 1997, this adaptation of Disney’s monstrous hit film has made Pride Rock proud. With over 10,000 performances to date, the circle of life shows no signs of slowing down. Grossing more than $1.9 billion, the stage-worthy safari is the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. Hakuna Matata indeed!

Moulin Rouge

3. Moulin Rouge! The Musical: $28 Million

Another lavish film to live up to, the hodgepodge jukebox musical opened in 2019 to a whole lot of buzz. The sultry, splashy vehicle took home a whopping 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. While it’s rare for a dearly expensive show to recoup, Moulin Rouge has made back all of its initial investment as it continues to flourish on Broadway and around the world.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: $68 Million

The lone straight play to make the cut, this magical production had no problem finding its audience. Smartly capitalizing on character familiarity— and not simply rehashing the plot of the books or films— this incarnation has been running at the Lyric Theatre since 2018. In a most impressive feat for a non-musical, the other wizard of Broadway recouped its lofty price tag.


1. Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark: $75 million

Spider-man might have occupied the same theatre as Harry Potter (back when it was called Foxwoods) but that’s where the similarities end. While the show managed to hang on for a couple of years, it closed at a massive financial loss. Julie Taymor should’ve stuck with the puppets and U2 won’t likely be gracing the Rialto ever again. An ill-fated comic endeavor all around.