‘The Lion King’ Reigns During Theater’s Happy Holiday Week – Broadway Box Office


A double-holiday week on Broadway – the final week of 2023 – saw a surge in box office, with many shows posting record numbers.

Winner of the week? Disney’s The Lion King, which grossed a massive $4,316,629, not only setting a house record at the Minskoff but a Broadway record for the highest single-week gross ever, a big achievement even when noting that the long-running musical played nine performances, as did other productions over the holidays.

Broadway’s final week of the calendar year included both Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with tourists and high ticket prices sending the total weekly gross for the 27 shows to $45,413,789, a 36% increase over the previous week but about 13% lower than last year’s New Year’s Eve week tally when 33 productions were on the boards.

Total attendance for the week ending December 31 was 256,751, a 14% bump over the previous week (but down 18% from last year). About 96% of all seats were filled, an impressive figure.

A big contributor to last week’s good box office numbers was the average ticket price of $176.88, a holiday boom that reflects a $29 increase over the previous week (and an $11 increase over last year at this time). Here again The Lion King reigned, with a $286.61 average ticket besting the usual front-runner Merrily We Roll Along ($258.20).

Other shows posting various record numbers (for 8 performances unless otherwise noted) or production highs (in addition to The Lion King) were:

  • Wicked, grossing $4,003,233 (9 performances), setting a house record at the Gershwin and marking the biggest gross in the show’s two-decade run;
  • Aladdin, $2,979,728 (9 performances), house record at the New Amsterdam;
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, $2,718,488, house record at the Lyric and Broadway record for a non-musical production;
  • MJ, $2,613,841 (9 performances), house record at the Neil Simon;
  • Chicago, $1,452,009 (9 performances), highest gross in the musical’s 27-year run;
  • Some Like It Hot, $1,398,818, the musical’s highest-grossing week; closed December 30;
  • I Need That, $905,467; house record at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre. The play, which starred Danny DeVito, closed December 30;
  • & Juliet, $1,784,051 (9 performances), house record at the Sondheim; Melanie La Barrie played her final performance as Angelique on December 30; Charity Angél Dawson takes over;
  • Gutenberg! The Musical!, $1,280,597; house record at the James Earl Jones;
  • Six, $1,659,004; house record at the Lena Horne.

Also posting big numbers were The Book of Mormon ($1,530,926); Hadestown ($1,114,449); Merrily We Roll Along, ($1,995,358), Moulin Rouge! ($1,786,154); Shucked ($1,050,251), A Beautiful Noise ($1,114,630, 9 performances); Spamalot ($1,503,187); Hamilton ($2,404,967); Back to the Future ($2,109,424); Sweeney Todd, ($2,261,279, 7 performances); and Appropriate ($753,024).

Joining the roster last week was Prayer For The French Republic, playing five previews at the Friedman ($264,770). Opening night is January 9.

Only two shows played to less than 70% of capacity at their venues, inexplicably given their good (and in one case excellent) reviews: Harmony, the Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman musical, grossed $555,200 (9 performances) with 69% of seats filled at the Ethel Barrymore; and Purlie Victorious, widely regarded by critics as one of the best Broadway production of 2023, grossing $601,535 (9 performances) with attendance at 59% of capacity at the Music Box.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $940,307,885, about 3% lower than last year at this time, with total attendance at 7,421,232, steady with last season.

All figures courtesy of The Broadway League. For complete box office listings, visit the League’s website.

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