Top Five Biggest Broadway Grossers of ’08. Are we like the movies?

As promised, here’s the follow up to yesterday’s post re: the top 10 grossing domestic films of 2008.

Since the film industry produces so much more product than we do, I thought it best to compare the top 10 grossing films domestically with the top 5 grossing shows (interesting to note that there isn’t an off-Broadway in film – pretty much everything gets lumped together – that’s a subject for another post).

Before I name the Top 5 Grossers . . . can you guess what they are?

Go on.  Give a shot.

When you’ve got them in your head, scroll down.

scroll . . .

scroll . . .

scroll . . .

Almost there . . .

scroll . . .

scroll . . .

scroll . . .

Here we go . . .

1.  Wicked                                    $75,641,794
2.  The Lion King                         $61,014,194
3.  Jersey Boys                            $58,871,925
4.  The Little Mermaid                  $49,184,168
5.  Mamma Mia                            $47,580,493

Well?  Think we have the same trends as the film industry?

I’m not so sure if the trends are as strong, but there is certainly something there.  3 out of 5 are the same big budget “fantasies” that the film audiences love.  And the other two are jukebox musicals.

And all based on pre-exisiting material – either a book, a movie, or a songbook.

Curious about the 2nd set of 5?  Here’s where we start to mix it up a bit:

6.  Mary Poppins                           $42,743,618
7.  The Phantom Of The Opera    $39,044,221
8.  South Pacific                            $35,817,950* (partial year)
9.  In The Heights                          $34,001,301* (partial year)
10.  Spamalot                                $32,386,699

Or do we?  Once again . . . all are based on pre-existing material, except for one.

Now which shows do you think will make the Top 5 next year?

Special thanks to Beverley D. Mac Keen and New World Stages for the research and for allowing me to borrow their cool spreadsheets.

  • Barby Dignan says:

    Of course, superheroes are popular subjects right now. For the past eight years, Americans have been emasculated, left wanting and hopeless by a hapless heartless government.(Alliteration, anyone?) Where do you turn when the reality you face is depressing? BATMAN,of course!! The other heroes are mere charlatans who “pretend” to have super powers (art imitates life?? go USA) But we know better. The BATMAN stands alone against fear and terror!
    But, seriously, Americans have always turned to fantasy and “fluff” during difficult times like these. But, even though I know this, I struggle to understand the popularity of a “Mama Mia”. Sorry, but when you take a bunch of popular 80’s songs and build a marginal story around them, I feel cheated. Yes, it was a fun romp in the park–an hour and a half escape, but it was all Cool Whip (not even real whipped cream). There was no meat and potatoes. I go for the real food, I’m afraid!!

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