As we sneak up on this Sunday’s Tony Awards, the Broadway season’s box office winners are quickly emerging. And the biggest new hit appears to be on a magic carpet ride. For the week ending June 1, Disney’s Aladdin led new shows with nearly $1.2 million in ticket sales, according to figures from the Broadway League. The animated-film-based tuner is playing to full houses and nearly 88 percent of its potential gross in the cavernous 1,723-seat New Amsterdam Theatre. Right behind Aladdin, though, is a rare non-musical blockbuster: the Denzel Washington-led revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which soaked up $1.19 million last week (thanks in part to premium tickets selling for as much as $348).
Among new musicals, the strong new performers include the Carole King bio-musical Beautiful ($1.08 million last week); the Neil Patrick Harris-topped revival Hedwig and the Angry Inch ($979,243); the new revival of Les Misérables ($958,439); the Idina Menzel vehicle If/Then ($801,212); and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder ($700,979). That marks something of a turnaround for Gentleman’s Guide, which had been struggling at the box office this spring before emerging ahead of the Tony pack with 10 nominations. In the month since the noms were announced, the quirky musical comedy has played to full houses – and last week earned an impressive 70 percent of its potential gross.
The outlook is cloudier for the season’s other new tuners. Despite their movie pedigrees, pricey productions like Bullets Over Broadway ($718,220 last week) and Rocky ($652,931) have been reaping roughly half of what they could be earning. The snubs in major Tony categories (particularly Best Musical) certainly didn’t help their causes. But even Best Musical nominee After Midnight has been underperforming, dancing away with just $483,964 last week. (Perhaps upcoming guest performers like Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will goose ticket sales.)
Among plays, which typically run in smaller Broadway theaters and seldom earn as much as musicals, Raisin is not the only heavyweight. All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston at LBJ, consistently hovers near the seven-figure mark in weekly earnings. Last week, it grossed $912,915. Of Mice and Men, starring A-list Instagrammer James Franco and Chris O’Dowd, took in an impressive $803,260. And Tony nominee Audra McDonald has been packing them in for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which earned $492,306 (78 percent of the potential take in the tiny 682-seat Circle in the Square Theatre).
Overall, the week’s top performers were dominated by longstanding hits: The Lion King ($1.96 million); Wicked ($1.80 million); The Book of Mormon ($1.63 million); Kinky Boots ($1.36 million); and the lone newcomer Aladdin ($1.20 million).