So much for hoop dreams. In their first full week since opening earlier this month, the new Broadway plays Magic/Bird and Peter and the Starcatcher appear to be struggling at the box office. Magic/Bird, the joint biography of basketball greats Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, opened April 11 to generally negative reviews. Despite backing from the NBA as well as other producers, Eric Simonson’s sports drama grossed a paltry $163,223 for the week ending April 22, according to figures from the Broadway League. The show played to houses that were only 55 percent full and took in a mere 19 percent of its potential gross at the Longacre Theatre – the box office equivalent of an air ball. In slightly better shape is the inventive Peter Pan prequel Peter and the Starcatcher, which opened April 15 to generally positive reviews and grossed $315,518 for the week. While it filled just two-thirds of its seats and earned less than 35 percent of its potential gross, it has a stronger shot than Magic/Bird at landing crucial sales-boosting Tony nominations – including a possible Best Play nod.
Overall box office on Broadway dropped significantly from the previous week, with just five shows raking in more than $1 million: The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Evita, and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. For the previous week, the post-Easter week ending April 15, a total of 10 shows hit that golden box office target. (The five that fell out of the million-dollar club last week: Mary Poppins, Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Newsies, and Mamma Mia!) Expect ticket sales to pick up again as summer approaches – as well as a winnowing of some main stem weaklings after the Tony nominations are announced May 1.