It is a curious time on Broadway with an impending glut of children’s shows, that may, or may not appeal to adults. Gluts are never a good thing for ticket sales and this is especially true on Broadway where too much of a good thing can spell difficulty for everyone. The existing children’s shows Lion King and Aladdin already have a strong footing on Broadway. The movie behemoths Frozen and Harry Potter are both scheduled to open on Broadway in March 2018 and stuck in the middle of these two, are the two shows Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Anastasia, that are hoping to make a name for themselves before the show storm closes in.
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Arrives Late March 2017
Broadway’s version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – the Musical, is based off the 2005 Tim Burton film of the same name starring Johnny Depp. The Broadway show arrives in previews on March 28, 2017 at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre and is expected to be an instant hit given the popular theme. The original Gene Wilder movie was entitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but all the other versions of the theme, including the book, used the Charlie moniker. The show is scheduled to have its opening night on April 23, 2017. Fans and critics are excited to see how Broadway’s Wonka embodies the giddy character that made this movie a fan favorite. The Charlie and The Chocolate Factory film is popular with pre-tweens, but skews more to boys than girls. The show will likely attract parents and children who have watched the movie growing up. Its a reach to just expect Millennials to see this show as they may now be too old and Centennials may be too young. Instead, producers of the Broadway show may be aiming to capture the imaginations of all demographics to boost sales, rather than pick a single demographic, that can often be fickle. The show is timely following the death of the film’s original star Gene Wilder, who died in December 2016 and carved out the original character of Willy Wonka, the stylized protagonist in the book.
Just when Disney and Frozen are rejecting the whole idea of the classic princess role, another (not so Disney) princess will bring her magic to Broadway on March 23, 2017 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Anastasia is set to open proper on April 24th, 2017. Anastasia the Broadway musical will be based on the 1997 Fox Animation Studio classic film of the same name that has sold $58 Million at the domestic box office and $102 million in international DVD and VHS movie sales. The makers of the Anastasia musical intend to illuminate the stage by bringing the classic folk tale to life on Broadway and leverage existing fans of the film. The marketing difficulty lies in the fact that the original fans of the movie are now in their middle to late twenties and may not want to see the show themselves. As people are having children much older now, the show may be missing the sweet spot of demographics for marketing which would be the children of existing fans, that are too young. The show may have to chase new fans for its ticket sales. The show may also receive critical acclaim, but if it cannot sell tickets within its first year, the show will not survive with the barrage of new shows hitting in 2018.
Both Shows Face Limited Window To Shine
As fan favorites, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Anastasia could have had great runs if they were not up against so many strong competitors in the same space coming in both 2017 and 2018. However, the fear of the uphill battle and tight window of opportunity to gain popularity before Frozen and Harry Potter arrive in 2018, could drive each show to its own success. Anastasia and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory have exactly 12 months before Frozen and Harry Potter land on Broadway, so it is a “make or break” deal for both productions, in this a rather unique marketing window. The strong main characters in Frozen, specifically the beloved princess Elsa, may likely steal the show and the whole Broadway market for younger children, making it impossible for Anastasia and Charlie to thrive after Frozen’s debut. The lost princess and Willy Wonka may ultimately lose their momentum against the existing Broadway shows like Lion King and Aladdin and the popular newcomers Frozen and Harry Potter.
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