Just how many Star Vehicles recoup anyway?

You know what everyone is saying these days, right?  If you want to make money on The Broadway, then you gotta have a gimmick star.

We here at the ol’ office don’t believe in anecdotal evidence very much, so we dug into the archives of the last ten years to find actual data see if that dog had legs.   (Wait. Is that a saying?  Huh.  I don’t think it is.  But you get it, right?.)

My professional data diver, Jen Tepper, sorted through the star shows (“Ken, it was like reading a whole year’s worth of US Weekly,” she said) and came up with a list of the recoupment ratio of star shows to not star shows.

Ready for the results?

We determined that of the 30+ star vehicles (we excluded shows where the stars played themselves, e.g. William Shatner, John Leguizamo, Colin Quinn, etc.) . . . . 66% made money.  33% did not.

Shocking?  Not shocking?  Your thoughts?

Did you expect it to be higher?

Yep, unfortunately what many of us think may be a guarantee is only a 2 out of 3 shot at getting one in the win column.

To do some comparin’ and contrastin’ . . .

If we use the industry standard percentages of 1 out of 4/5 shows recoup, then adding a star seems to increase those odds . . . but only by about 30-40%.

“Wait, Ken, that’s a big percentage!  That’s doubling your show to make money!”

That’s what you’re screaming at your screen, right?

‘Tis true, o’ readers.  ‘Tis true.

BUT, what are you giving up for that increase of 30-40%?  Well, in most big star vehicles the salaries and profit shares have gotten so humongo that the upside for the investors is limited.  So sure you’re getting a better chance at getting your money back, but you’re giving up probably double that or more in upside (especially since most star vehicles are by nature limited runs, where non-star vehicles can run for years).

So, in a high risk biz like the one we’re in, when you know you have to go into it with the knowledge that you may lose your entire investment, what would you rather do . . .

– Be safer (but not completely safe) and invest in something just because it’s a star, with a ceiling on the upside and maybe make a concession on the art?

– Or take a chance on something riskier, that you believe in 101% that has endless upside?

Guess which one of those dogs I think has legs?



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