The 1st Quarter Results are in! How are we doing?

Summer is winding down, which means the first quarter of the Broadway fiscal year has come to a close as well.

Big businesses take their financial temperature with quarterly earnings, so, as I mentioned in this post, we’re going to assess our Broadway season as the season goes along, with quarterly updates on how we’re doing, and yes, a few predictions as well.
Unfortunately, despite a few articles touting the strength of our box office this summer, we’re down against last year’s numbers.

Here are the cold, hard, figures:

The total gross for the first 13 weeks of the ’09-10 season was $258,159,343 which is 3.2% less than last season’s first quarter results of $266,617,631.
Many would argue (and I’m one of them), that this isn’t so bad, in light of the financial hurricane that we’ve been in for the past 11-12 months (and yes, it has been that long).
However, the more alarming first quarter statistic has to do with attendance.

During the first 13 weeks of this season, 2,960,615 people went to see a Broadway show as opposed to last season’s 3,273,453.  That’s down a whopping 9.6%.

Economy or not, this is something to be concerned about, especially when our first quarter includes some of the strongest weeks of the year.

(Looking long term, what’s even a bit scarier is the spread between the drop in attendance and the drop in gross.  We’ve been making up for the drop in attendance that has occured over the past two years by simply charging more for our tickets (not to mention our ‘premium prices’).  At some point soon, this is going to catch up with us, and we’ll be unable to keep charging more to make up for the attendance drop and the low profitability ration we have now, will drop even further.)

To recap?

Broadway’s first quarter results of ’09-10 = Grosses down 3.2%.  Attendance down 9.6%.

What do I see coming in the second quarter?

Unfortunately, more of the same.  Comparing this season over last, I count an average of 25 shows running on Broadway per week over the 2nd quarter, compared to last year’s average of 28 shows per week.  Those missing three shows are going to drop the grosses on their own. Add that to the economic downturn, and the lack of a big, heavily anticipated musical, and I’m predicting at least a 5% drop in gross and an attendance drop that pushes 10%.

Unfortunately, all of this means that my earlier 2009-2010 season prediction is on target.  We’re looking at posting a drop in grosses for the first time since the 2004-2005 season, and another drop in attendance, our third year in a row.

And that will be the first time in 20 years that the attendance has dropped over three seasons in a row.

Enough doom and gloom . . . what do you as a Producer do staring at these quarterly results?

  • Be picky.  There will be hits.  Shows will recoup.  But it will be harder.  Make sure you show has plenty of compelling reasons to stand out from the clutter.
  • Don’t rush.  If your show isn’t ready right now, don’t rush it in. I don’t care if the perfect theater becomes available.  There just aren’t as many people going to the theater right now.  Adding another show to the fray and getting the majority of the audience is going to be hard.
  • Squeeze pennies.  Don’t pinch ’em, but give ’em a squeeze to make sure you’re not paying for any pork.  Now is not the time for fat.  Make sure your budget has a lean, lithe, runner’s body.

Could I be wrong?  Could the year turn around?  Could we end up with a gain in both grosses and attendance?

Sure, we could.  But it may take a superhero to make it happen.

See you in 13!

Broadway Grosses w/e 8/23/09

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
9 TO 5 $589,453 7,937 61.58% $74.27
AVENUE Q $454,132 5,952 93.47% $76.30
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,413,725 11,368 100.00% $124.36
BURN THE FLOOR $426,308 6,363 75.68% $67.00
CHICAGO $655,111 7,983 92.40% $82.06
HAIR $1,038,147 11,073 98.03% $93.75
IN THE HEIGHTS $782,522 8,846 81.01% $88.46
JERSEY BOYS $1,126,088 9,886 101.13% $116.79
MAMMA MIA! $1,019,887 11,273 94.07% $90.47
MARY POPPINS $952,564 12,778 88.88% $74.55
NEXT TO NORMAL $456,273 5,582 90.38% $81.74
ROCK OF AGES $636,437 7,451 93.42% $85.42
SHREK THE MUSICAL $857,449 10,515 75.84% $81.55
SOUTH PACIFIC $781,930 7,554 90.71% $103.51
THE 39 STEPS $248,907 3,954 83.91% $62.95
THE LION KING $1,444,633 13,164 99.49% $109.74
THE LITTLE MERMAID $1,212,777 12,242 100.74% $99.07
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $969,210 11,895 92.07% $81.48
WEST SIDE STORY $1,153,444 12,071 88.91% $95.55
WICKED $1,634,843 14,472 100.00% $112.97
TOTALS $17,853,836 192,359 90.09% $90.10

Broadway Grosses w/e 8/16/09




New Page 1

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
9 TO 5 $661,572 8,837 68.57% $74.86
AVENUE Q $430,303 5,659 88.87% $76.04
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,419,673 11,370 100.02% $124.86
BURN THE FLOOR $665,009 8,269 98.35% $80.42
CHICAGO $704,829 8,257 95.57% $85.36
HAIR $1,108,012 11,346 100.44% $97.66
IN THE HEIGHTS $816,734 9,114 83.46% $89.61
JERSEY BOYS $1,154,537 9,900 101.27% $116.62
MAMMA MIA! $1,085,725 11,570 96.55% $93.84
MARY POPPINS $1,023,278 12,639 87.92% $80.96
MARY STUART $414,237 6,426 69.85% $64.46
NEXT TO NORMAL $468,436 5,690 92.13% $82.33
ROCK OF AGES $674,815 7,703 96.58% $87.60
SHREK THE MUSICAL $948,098 11,612 83.76% $81.65
SOUTH PACIFIC $815,233 7,797 93.62% $104.56
THE 39 STEPS $254,406 3,956 83.96% $64.31
THE LION KING $1,479,613 13,234 100.02% $111.80
THE LITTLE MERMAID $1,210,097 12,222 100.58% $99.01
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,085,761 12,875 99.65% $84.33
WEST SIDE STORY $1,259,691 12,946 95.36% $97.30
WICKED $1,645,488 14,472 100.00% $113.70
TOTALS $19,325,545 $205,894 92.21% $91.01


Broadway Grosses w/e 8/9/09

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap Avg Pd Adm
9 TO 5 $712,415 9,399 72.93% $75.80
AVENUE Q $422,513 5,500 86.37% $76.82
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,449,415 11,366 99.98% $127.52
BURN THE FLOOR $540,180 8,144 96.86% $66.33
CHICAGO $722,127 8,339 96.52% $86.60
HAIR $1,112,244 11,323 100.24% $98.23
IN THE HEIGHTS $903,262 9,947 91.09% $90.81
JERSEY BOYS $1,162,436 9,899 101.26% $117.43
MAMMA MIA! $1,100,641 11,916 99.43% $92.37
MARY POPPINS $1,069,053 13,796 95.97% $77.49
MARY STUART $408,749 6,870 74.67% $59.50
NEXT TO NORMAL $480,366 5,873 95.09% $81.79
ROCK OF AGES $705,799 7,900 99.05% $89.34
SHREK THE MUSICAL $1,062,704 12,946 93.38% $82.09
SOUTH PACIFIC $840,955 8,190 98.34% $102.68
THE 39 STEPS $278,687 4,271 90.64% $65.25
THE LION KING $1,493,502 13,234 100.02% $112.85
THE LITTLE MERMAID $1,186,154 12,154 100.02% $97.59
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,072,163 12,781 98.92% $83.89
WEST SIDE STORY $1,315,310 13,375 98.52% $98.34
WICKED $1,649,459 14,472 100.00% $113.98
TOTALS $19,688,132 $211,695 94.73% $90.32

Broadway Grosses w/e 8/2/09




New Page 1

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap Avg Paid Admission
9 TO 5 $665,102 8,702 67.52% $76.43
AVENUE Q $410,259 5,334 83.76% $76.91
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,420,249 11,364 99.96% $124.98
BURN THE FLOOR $259,786 6,767 92.51% $38.39
CHICAGO $689,628 8,158 94.42% $84.53
HAIR $1,102,148 11,311 100.13% $97.44
IN THE HEIGHTS $886,956 9,954 91.15% $89.11
JERSEY BOYS $1,150,344 9,899 101.26% $116.21
MAMMA MIA! $1,079,916 11,849 98.87% $91.14
MARY POPPINS $1,017,352 13,652 94.96% $74.52
MARY STUART $343,146 5,815 63.21% $59.01
NEXT TO NORMAL $456,333 5,736 92.88% $79.56
ROCK OF AGES $690,585 7,928 99.40% $87.11
SHREK THE MUSICAL $1,008,541 12,287 88.63% $82.08
SOUTH PACIFIC $803,356 7,875 94.56% $102.01
THE 39 STEPS $248,135 3,983 84.53% $62.30
THE LION KING $1,467,230 13,170 99.53% $111.41
THE LITTLE MERMAID $1,139,162 12,030 99.00% $94.69
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,002,059 12,594 97.48% $79.57
WEST SIDE STORY $1,298,546 13,319 98.11% $97.50
WICKED $1,627,239 14,472 100.00% $112.44
TOTALS $18,766,070 206,199 92.47% $87.49


Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

Never miss a post or podcast again. Subscribe to the blog and stay in the know.

Free Production Team Database
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

july, 2020

15jul4:00 pm6:00 pmJuly Producer Pitch Night (Virtual)

20jul8:00 pm9:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Eric C. Webb

Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Advertisement
X