A Mega Box Office Hit That Took Broadway by Storm
On August 1, 2015, Fish in the Dark
will play its final performance on Broadway. The show began previews on February 2, 2015 at the Cort Theatre, and officially opened on March 5, 2015. Written by and originally starring Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm
, creator of Seinfeld
), the show was a major box office draw from the first day. Before the show even began its first preview, it had brought in over $11 million at the box office. This was by far the highest advance of any show this spring season on Broadway. By the opening on March 5th, the advance was reported to be $13 million. On May 20, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial investment which was never revealed to the press, but was expected to be somewhere between $3 million and $4 million. The reason it took so long for the show to recoup despite such an extraordinary advance is due to the high cost of running the show, which in no small part is due to the high salary given to Larry David himself. When Jason Alexander took over for Larry David on June 9, 2015, the box office receipts dropped $400,000 for the week, and stayed fairly constant until the end of the run. However, Jason Alexander also earned a significantly lower salary, allowing the show to stay afloat despite this drop in ticket sales.
Mediocre Reviews and Poor Awards Recognition
Despite this astounding box office success, the show received mediocre reviews upon its opening. The New York Times found the show to be an excuse to glorify the fame of Larry David, but that the comedy was not his best. Other critics were as impressed as ticket buyers, including David Cote from Time Out New York, David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter, and Matt Windman from AM New York. However, the overall critical response did nothing to dissuade ticket buyers, many of whom had already made their ticket purchases before the reviews came out. Furthermore, Fish in the Dark
received no Tony Award nominations, further confirming that the show was not the best Broadway has seen by any stretch of the imagination. However, the producers of the Tony Awards ceremony did give a nod to Larry David’s impact of the Broadway industry this season, as he was given the chance to present the final award of the evening, that for Best Musical to Fun Home
Jason Alexander Didn’t Hold a Candle to Larry David
When Alexander took over for David on June 9, 2015, the weekly box office gross dropped by $403,563. Whereas David’s final week brought in a weekly gross of $1,246,196, representing 119.73% of the show’s gross potential, Jason Alexander’s first week had a weekly gross of $842,633, which represented 80.97% of the gross potential. With very minor fluctuations, the gross through Alexander’s run has stayed constant, that is until the last reported week of box office figures: the week ending July 26, 2015. That week, the show’s weekly gross went down by $185,258 to a figure of $716,936, which represented only 68.89% of the show’s gross potential. This is by far the lowest weekly gross to date. However, chances are the sales will pick up in the final week ending August 1, 2015.