I really can’t believe we’re about to enter our 4th and final Quarter of the year. The year has flown by. It seems like yesterday we were counting up the number of Tonys Book of Mormon was going to win, and we’re getting close to T-Time again soon.
But how’s business?
Here’s how the season is stacking up after three quarters:
Season to Date Gross: $820,688,397
Last Season to Date Gross: $769,572,296
Difference: A whopping 6.6% increase
Season to Date Attendance: 8,829,459
Last Season to Date Attendance: 8,762,097
Difference: A paltry .8%
Season to Date Playing Weeks: 1070
Last Season to Date Playing Weeks: 1113
Difference: a “what the f” -3.9%
So let me sum up . . . massive increase in the gross, an almost flat-lined attendance, and a significant drop in the number of shows.
What does this mean?
Well, if you’re a megahit, like the aforementioned Book of M, then you’re as happy as a clam that you didn’t get picked for Carousel‘s clambake, because you’ve been using variable pricing to suck every cent from the consumer during peak times.
See, what would be better for the other shows out there, would be if the attendance would be going up as dramatically as the gross, as that would mean more people are going to the theater (in the defense of these stats, having such a drop in the playing weeks, but still posting a positive attendance gain is palatable).
Unfortunately, these statistics indicate that Broadway theater is becoming more elitist than it was before, and because of the success of the megahits, the middle-of-the-road shows are having a harder time scraping out their nut each week.
We’ve got 13 more weeks left. Where will we end up? Well, Q2 includes the “why can’t it happen 3x a year” Christmas week, so I don’t think we’ll be able to continue to support that enormous gross increase. I’m predicting that the gross will be up over last year about 5.9-6%, and attendance rising about 1% (the new shows this Spring should bring us some more bodies).
In the meantime, I’m dying to do a survey of those premium ticket buyers . . . does paying $400 for a ticket decrease the amount of theatergoing they are doing? In other words, if they previously went to the theater three times a year, are they now going only twice because they are paying so much for that super hit that they “must” see?
I’m not sure I want to know the answer.
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