Some bright spots are emerging on the musical theatre scene, even as Broadway shutters some shows early due to poor ticket sales.
In Toronto, the North American tour of Mary Poppins set a new Canadian record, grossing $2,088,824 for the week ending Jan. 1. It is the highest single-week gross for a theatrical production in Canadian history, according to Mirvish Productions, which brought the show to Toronto.
During the same period, the Broadway production of Mary Poppins brought in $1.58 million US, a strong showing for a week at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The revival, created by Disney and producer Cameron Mackintosh, opened on Broadway on Nov. 16, 2006.
Spider-Man earns $2.9M US
Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which was mocked in 2011 as the longest-running show to never open, also broke box-office records. It took in $2.9 million US in the week to Jan. 1, breaking the all-time record of $2.23 million US set by Wicked January 2011.
Both Spider-Man and Mary Poppins staged nine shows during the week following Christmas — traditionally a strong period for theatre — compared with the usual eight shows a week.
Spider-Man ticket prices are higher than most New York theatre tickets, in part because of the show's high production cost of $75 million US.
But its results signal a definite triumph for a show that critics panned and predicted would flop. The musical's opening was delayed multiple times following a series of accidents led to injuries among cast members and when producers ordered a revamp of the story line.
In January, with typically fewer tourists visiting New York and the cold keeping theatre-goers at home, the box office often sags. Several Broadway shows have shuttered in anticipation of the annual downturn, including a production of Private Lives starring Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross, and musicals such as The Addams Family and Billy Elliot.