The long Columbus Day weekend gave the Broadway box office a nice jolt last week, with overall sales shooting up 13% as tourist-magnet titles posted major gains and the one new addition of the week, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” sold out its first preview.
Any sales sluggishness during the Jewish holidays (which fell in the middle of last week) was effectively counterbalanced by those long-weekend ticket buyers, which helped drive up overall attendance by 18,000 to 243,683, or 85% of the total seating capacity across all theaters. City tourism looks to be a key factor in that rise, with the street’s best-known titles — “The Lion King” ($2,055,928), “Wicked” ($1,719,802), “Aladdin” ($1,535,611), “School of Rock” ($1,081,852) — posting individual rises that weighed in at hundreds of thousands dollars apiece.
Catch-it-before-it’s-gone business at “An American in Paris” ($1,119,140), which closed Sunday, pushed the show into the millionaires’ club for the first time in months, while “Matilda” ($821,962), closing in January, rocketed up 25% in one of the final holiday frames before the show shutters in January. Among Broadway’s newer titles, “Falsettos” ($404,430 for seven previews) stepped up to seven performances last week while just-opened “Holiday Inn” ($404,315) and “Oh, Hello on Broadway” ($416,495) both managed to rise despite accommodating a slew of press tickets.
Plays weren’t left out of the bounty, as hot-ticket “The Front Page” ($1,221,425) surged ahead by almost $140,000 and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” ($105,177 for one preview), boosted by star Liev Schreiber and a well-known title, sold out its first performance. Tony champ “The Humans” ($601,756) stepped up too, as did “The Encounter” ($336,865), fresh off the glowing reviews it earned after its Sept. 29 opening.
Total Broadway cume for the week hit $25.9 million for 29 shows now playing — about on par with the same week last year, when there were 31 shows on the boards.