Broadway Box Office Returns To Earth After Record-Setting Holiday

choir boy
Matthew Murphy

Broadway fell back to earth last week following a massive holiday box office run, with ticket prices and attendance settling into a post-Christmas routine. Box office receipts of $38M were down 35% from the previous week’s record-setting numbers.

In all, the 36 productions – three fewer than the previous week – took in $37,530,273 during Broadway’s Week 32 ending Jan. 6, with attendance of 300,562 down about 21% from the previous week. Average ticket price was $125, compared to the previous week’s $152.

Nearly every production reported box office drops, as most resumed typical eight-performance weeks and normal ticket prices after the amped-up holiday slot. Only Torch Song, one of four productions calling it quits, saw an uptick, climbing about 13% to $276,173 in its final week. Still, the Harvey Fierstein classic hit only about 43% of potential.

Also closing during Week 32 were Head Over Heels, Once On This Island and The Play That Goes Wrong. Only Once On This Island departed with a full house: The musical concluded its long engagement at Circle in the Square to standing room only crowds, grossing $727,236.

Of the two shows in previews, True West, starring Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano in Sam Shepard’s modern classic, scored best, grossing $418,006 for seven previews (62% of potential), with attendance at about 94% capacity. The play opens Jan. 24 at the American Airlines Theatre.

The other previewer, Choir Boy, opening Jan. 8 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, was off to a slower start financially. Though attendance of 4,878 was about 96% of capacity, modest ticket prices and press seats kept box office of $239,474 at about 38% of potential.

Playing to sell-out crowds (or near enough, at 98% capacity or more) were Aladdin, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Mean Girls, Network, Once On This Island, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, To Kill A Mockingbird and Wicked.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $1,169,368,023, a 16% jump over last year at this time. Attendance of 9,052,871 was up 11% year to year.

All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.

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