Every so often dire predictions, like the weather forecast, prove correct, and that’s the story of Week 23 of the 2015-2016 Broadway season. Producers feared the triple whammy of the World Series, a Saturday Hallowe’en and the NYC Marathon on Sunday would strike fear in the hearts of the theater-bound, and they were right: Box office receipts were down 17 percent over the week before, also down over the same week last season; and there were 26,150 fewer butzinseats than the week before. Indeed, only one show not in previews saw receipts on the plus side of the ledger. Guess which one? Starts with “H.”
That’s right, in a week that saw The Book Of Mormon down $106.4K, Kinky Boots off $294.5K, The Lion King mewing over its $261.2K drop and Wicked plummeting $274.4K, Hamilton bucked the trend, gaining $105.8K with sales of $1.6 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theatre, a hair’s-breadth shy of 20 percent above gross potential of $1.33 million. Average ticket price paid for the show was about 15 Hamiltons: $148.71, to be exact.
Three shows opened during the week that ended Sunday afternoon: Sylvia, the shaggy dog comedy at the Shubert Organization’s Cort; Thèrése Raquin, Keira Knightley’s noir-ish Broadway debut at the Roundabout’s Studio 54; and the self-proclaimed “future history play” King Charles III at the Shuberts’ Music Box, with only the last earning preponderantly must-see reviews..
The David Mamet/Al Pacino brand held up for Mamet’s new play, China Doll, in previews at the Shuberts’ Schoenfeld, commanding an average of $163.80 for ticket despite grumbling from online chatterers and news reports about the state of the script and the star’s performance. Bruce Willis’ star turn in Misery, at the Shuberts’ Broadhurst, took in a healthy $907K, or 75 percent of potential. Two previewing musicals, On Your Feet! at the Nederlanders’ Marquis and George Takei’s Allegiance, at the Shuberts’ Longacre, had different stories to tell: On Your Feet! was off $150K, taking in $946.7K or 61 percent of gross potential. Allegiance was down just $4K, but at $450K it hit just 48 percent of its potential. Both shows will need strong reviews and excited word of mouth in the coming weeks.
Total sales for 33 shows were $22.8 million, down $4.57 million, or 17 percent, from the week before, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League. Attendance fell by 26,150, or 10 percent, to 240,104.