The Great White Way grossed over $204 million this summer. Who got the lot of it? Who lost out? And what does it all mean?
• Usual suspects Wicked and The Lion King are the season’s big earners, taking in $19.6 million and $19.2 million, respectively. Yet the remaining top three spots belong to newcomers Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (17.6 million), The Book of Mormon ($13.3 million), and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying ($12.1 million).
• Spider-Man may be doing well, but its reported $1.2 million nut (the overhead cost to run the show every week) will be tough for the production to crack, as it only earned an average $1.6 million per week since mid June.
• The season’s biggest surprise is War Horse. The Tony-winning drama is attracting big-budget musical type money ($10.9 million for the summer alone) and played to full houses all summer while demanding an average $115 per seat.
• The Book of Mormon’s high ticket prices (the most expensive seat costs $477, the second highest in Broadway history) and sold out shows (it played to 102 percent capacity all summer) are helping it rake in the cash nightly, yet the small size of its theater keeps the show from outgrossing less populated musicals like Spider-Man, The Lion King, and Wicked. For example, the Foxwoods Theatre that houses Spider-Man has nearly twice the seating capacity of the Eugene O’Neill where Mormon now lives.
• Bringing the touring company of Tony-winner Hair back to Broadway this July for a summer-only stint turned out to be a flop. The show filled only 52 percent of its seats and had the lowest average ticket price on Broadway, $49.
• Hurricane Irene hit the Great White Way hard: The Broadway League estimated that Broadway lost $8 million dollars due to the weather-induced closings the weekend of August 27.
• Sister Act, Billy Elliot, Memphis, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Addams Family and Baby It’s You have been in constant decline since July. The latter two shows (along with 16th place Catch Me if You Can) have already announced their impending closing.