Broadway reported higher grosses and attendance than the previous week, but major brands took big hits to their box office amid fears of coronavirus.
For the week ended March 8, Broadway reported a total gross across all shows of $26.7 million compared to $26.1 million the previous week, as the arrival of new shows may have countered any industry-wide impact from COVID-19. Attendance was 3.6% higher. Still, many shows lost thousands of dollars from the previous week.
“The Lion King” saw the biggest drop in the industry, a decline of $228,089 compared to last week, followed by the other Disney properties, including “Frozen,” which saw its lowest grossing week to date, with a drop of $126,484 from last week. “Aladdin” saw a decline of $89,464.
In response, Disney Theatrical pointed to a coronavirus statement on its website, in which Disney has waived its $15 exchange fee through the end of March and says refunds are available for guests holding tickets through April 19. The organization has advised theatergoers experiencing cold or flu symptoms to stay home.
“Disney Theatrical Productions is closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation. The health and safety of our theatregoers, cast members, and employees is our highest priority,” the statement reads.
“Ain’t Too Proud” also saw a big dip — with grosses coming in $94,846 below the previous week — as did “Tina,” “West Side Story” and “Beetlejuice.”
Amid the drops, some hits weathered through the week, with “Hadestown” bringing in 99% of its gross potential, with attendance at 100.57%. “Dear Evan Hansen” made $15,000 more than the previous week, with attendance at 98%.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” also added on to its box office, but played to a capacity of 91%, the lowest its attendance has fallen yet for an eight-show week.
The grosses were buoyed by the arrival of “Company,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Diana” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” all of which began previews last week.
Overall, grosses for the week ended March 8 were down 12% compared to this week last season. Attendance also fell season-over-season with 253,453 theatergoers last week versus 271,052 in the previous season.