Nearly every production on the boards experienced declines last week, while tapering tourism drove attendance down as well. Coming out of the frame, Beatles revue "Let It Be" -- an example of the concert genre that has shown notable B.O. strength in recent months -- announced it would shutter following disappointing sales.
The Lion King" ($2,112,788), for instance, logged its seventh week straight above the $2 million mark, and held the top spot on the Broadway ladder for its 17th non-consecutive week so far this calendar year, more than any other show.
As has been the case for most of the summer, habitual frontrunners "Wicked" ($1,871,050) and "The Book of Mormon" ($1,741,615) were joined by newer outings including "Kinky Boots" ($1,649,031), "Motown" ($1,437,843) and "Matilda" ($1,329,084), the latter bucking the downward trend and breaking its prior house record at the Shubert Theater. Even "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" ($1,025,358) managed to top $1 million despite cancelling one performance due to an actor injury.
Even though the spring's successes, many of them boosted by the Tonys, have shown unusual commercial strength all summer -- including revival "Pippin" ($1,023,367), continuing to post stellar numbers in a relatively small venue -- this season's newer offerings have had trouble catching on. "Let It Be" ($316,572) reps a case in point, with the producers of the show announcing the Beatles tribute would shutter Sept. 1 rather than stick around through the end of the year as originally planned. The show likely suffered in part from its similarity to 2010-11 outing "Rain," another recent Beatles tribute (producers of which have filed a lawsuit over the overlap between the two productions).
A pair of recently opened original musicals also haven't sparked any fires at the B.O., with Zachary Levi starrer "First Date" ($424,227) up a fraction in its first full frame post-opening and "Soul Doctor" ($200,673) holding steady in its opening week. Dance showcase "Forever Tango" ($282,884), which joined the slate in July, saw sales slide more than 25%.
Overall Broadway cume slid about $1.5 million to $21.8 million for 23 shows on the boards, while attendance dipped by 16,000 to 202,495 (or 86% of overall capacity). The downward spiral will probably turn into a trend: Declines are poised to continue for the rest of the month, with late August often presaging the bigger back-to-school dropoff that traditionally occurs after Labor Day.
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