'Hamilton' Makes History With More Than $4 Million Holiday Week
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Hamilton last week earned more than $4 million, making it the first musical in Broadway history to generate that much money in one week.
While the holiday season is often a popular time for people to go see Broadway shows, the week between Christmas and New Year’s in 2018 was one for the books. It was both the best-attended -- with 378,910 seats filled -- and highest-grossing -- with $57.8 million at the box office -- in Broadway history.
While Hamilton took the top spot -- coinciding the airing of its creator, writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire receiving a special Kennedy Center Honor -- it was also a successful week for many of its peers.
Hamilton was followed by The Lion King, which grossed $3.7 million, Wicked $3.4 million, and The Illusionists, which made $3 million. Overall, 28 shows grossed more than $1 million, and there were eight that brought in $2 million. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child broke the weekly record for a Broadway play with $2.52 million at the box office. It broke its own $2.34 million record from Thanksgiving 2018.
“The demand for escapism is definitely a factor and that's what we find more and more. People want to pay money to have an experience and they want it in a more intense way than just going to a movie theater,” said Victoria Cairl, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Show-Score.com, a social and review platform for theater fans. “Broadway is thriving. It doesn't hurt that the shows are spectacular right now and when people go, they really feel like they get their money's worth.”
Cairl said that shows such as Hamilton and the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are unique in their price point. A Hamilton ticket last week retailed from $375 to $849, but the show is at the higher end of the price spectrum. “Broadway may be booming, but it's very accessible,” Cairl said. “Some people might think, Oh, it's so expensive, I can never afford an $800 ticket. That's not the case. Many shows you can see for under $50.”
As for shows to watch this year, Cairl said that while existing IPs are continually being adapted for the stage, including upcoming musicals of Tootsie and Beetlejuice, there are also some anticipated original works opening soon that have had very successful off-Broadway runs, including Be More Chill, which Cairl describes as a teen comedy sci-fi musical, and Hadestown, which is inspired by greek mythology.
“What's great about Broadway is it still has an entrepreneurial spirit and it’s always willing to try something new,” Cairl said. “What we're creating is art for a variety of different audiences.”