Broadway and off-Broadway went dark and most movie theaters throughout New York City were shut down Sunday as the East Coast prepared for the onset of Hurricane Sandy.
The Broadway League announced Sunday morning that performances scheduled for Sunday evening through Monday would be canceled. The Great White Way makes roughly $3 million on performance days, so the shutdown will have a financial impact.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and public officials were encouraging citizens to stay home, and New York City will shut down public transportation at 7 p.m. Sunday. The bus and subway shutdown, along with a series of evacuations ordered for low-lying areas, prompted several theaters chains to close their doors.
AMC Theaters stopped selling tickets and said that its locales in New York City and on Long Island will be closed on Monday, too. AMC runs nine NYC multiplexes, including the Empire 25 in Times Square, the busiest cinema in the country.
The Angelika Film Center, Clearview Cinemas and City Cinemas have shut down as well. Regal Theaters, the second largest theater chain in the region, kept it doors open but said it will close on Monday.
The effect on the movie theaters is tougher to estimate, since most box office experts took into account a reduced turnout on Sunday as people hunkered down for the storm. Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit most of the East Coast on Monday or early Tuesday.
Ironically, unseasonably warm weather on the West Coast could offset some of the losses in East Coast movie grosses as people head for the cool theaters.