Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sales record for 'Spider-Man'
'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark''The Phantom of the Opera'Sure, Broadway tuner "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has endured more than its fair share of media ridicule -- but sometimes it still manages a superheroic feat.Take last week, when the show came cliffhanger-close to hitting the $3 million mark in sales from the single frame between Christmas and New Year's. Production pulled in a whopping $2,941,794 for nine perfs.It wasn't too long ago, of course, that topping $2 million was a rare feat along the Main Stem. But last week -- the high-demand holiday sesh that annually rings in as the Rialto's most profitable of the year -- the Top 10 included four shows coming in at more than $2 million each, with "Spider-Man" followed by "Wicked" ($2,712,535), "The Lion King" ($2,444,132) and "Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway" ($2,056,957). Each of the four played nine perfs rather than the usual eight, as has become common practice among shows looking to capitalize on the timeframe's tourist-boosted biz.Overall, the week left Broadway strewn with broken house records as several shows pulled in venue-best numbers, and every single production on the boards posted an increase compared to the previous week. An astonishing 18 shows logged sales of more than $1 million each.A number of factors contribute to the new swiftness with which Main Stem records are broken these days. Not only have rising ticket prices sped things along, but the advent of premium-priced seats -- which can shift dynamically based on fluctuations in demand -- also help keep grosses on the upswing.The year-end holiday week traditionally commands higher pricetags. In the case of "Spider-Man," the show offered tickets as part of special-event packages that included VIP treatment and a flying lesson on the "Spidey" set, with the top-tier option going for $1,000.Elsewhere on the Rialto, shows that broke house records included "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" ($1,910,224) -- getting an additional boost from the last-chance sales for exiting star Daniel Radcliffe -- as well as last season's Tony-sweeper "The Book of Mormon" ($1,752,601) and "Chicago" ($1,065,500), each playing nine shows.And with only eight shows apiece last week, the perennially popular "The Phantom of the Opera" ($1,579,428) broke a house record in its 23rd year on the boards. "The Addams Family" ($1,456,119), in its final week on Broadway, also topped the previous high-water mark at its own venue.Overall Main Stem cum hit $37,657,455 for 35 shows on the boards, up from the $35 million logged last year at this time. Attendance hits 321,152, down slightly from the 330,000 posted a year ago.Three productions -- "Addams," "Bonnie and Clyde" ($526,181) and "Private Lives" ($445,166) -- called it quits Sunday. The rest are bracing themselves for the annual January slump that hits the Main Stem just after the holidays, with the biggest B.O. drop heading their way this week. Contact Gordon Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org