Broadway Box Office Cools But Al Pacino’s Still Hot

The Broadway box office took a short dive following the Thanksgiving holiday bonanza, shrinking $2.4 million or 12% from the week before. But Al Pacino proved that audiences will still pay top dollar to see certain stars regardless of the vehicle. In this case, it was the world premiere of David Mamet’s China Doll, which opened following an extended preview period to some of the worst notices of the season. (The first paragraphs of the New York Times review recapped Michael Riedel’s New York Post pre-opening gossip about the show, an unsavory practice). Nevertheless, China Doll was up $417K to $1.1 million at the Shubert Organization’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with an average ticket price of $152.57, the highest for a non-musical by a considerable distance.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock — The Musical opened to a Santa’s bag full of goodies from the ink-stained kvetches, pretty much ensuring a long run at the Shuberts’ Winter Garden — good news for the composer/producer in the wake of a couple of misfires. If a rumored revival of Cats makes it to Broadway next season, the Lord will have three shows running simultaneously, with The Phantom Of The Opera showing no signs of departing any time soon.

Speaking of stars, Bruce Willis in Misery at the Shuberts’ Broadhurst bounced back $116K to $827K, 66% of gross potential and an average ticket price of $121.98.

The revival of Fiddler On The Roof, previewing at the Shuberts’ Broadway Theatre, was down $159K but still appears to be a strong draw, pulling in $1 million, just shy of 70% of potential. The Color Purple, also being revived, at the Shuberts’ Jacobs, took in $739K, a healthy 72% of gross potential, with an average ticket price of $101.57 during its previews.

On Your Feet!Newcomer On Your Feet!, at the Nederlander Organization’s Marquis, improved by $21.6K to $1.28 million, or 83% of potential, with an average ticket price of $112.11.

Among the season newcomers underperforming given their critical reception: The Gin Game, at the Shuberts’ Golden, $218K or 32% of potential; Spring Awakening, at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, $391K or 39% of potential; A View From The Bridge, at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, $533K or 59% of potential; Fool For Love, at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Friedman, $319K or 48% of potential; King Charles III, at the Shuberts’ Music Box, $569K or 57% of potential; and Thérèse Raquin, at the Roundabout’s Studio 54, $410K or 48.5% of potential.

Total sales for Week 28 of the 2015-2016 season, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League, were $29.6M across 37 shows. That was down $53K or 12% from the previous week and 1.7% from the same week last year, when only 36 shows were running.

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