Insider: Spider-Man on Broadway Opening 'Likely to Be Pushed' Back Again

12:53 PM PST 12/15/2010 by Kim Masters
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The new issue of The Hollywood Reporter details the $65 million production's major problems - and why it continues to sell at 98.2% capacity despite it all.

Despite technical glitches and actor injuries (villainess Natalie Mendoza received a concussion after being struck in the head by equipment backstage, and still has yet to return; a flying performer broke both his wrists while rehearsing), news about the daring stunts has only fueled interest in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

During its first week of previews, the show grossed $919,457 from five performances at the theater. That’s 98.2% capacity at an average ticket price of $97.11. Three previews were cancelled; had the show played a full eight performances, it could have made nearly $1.5 million. (The show is the most expensive in Broadway history at $65 million.)

David Garfinkle, an original producer on the project, says all of Spider-Man’s troubles will be forgotten when it opens, finally, in the new year (a planned Jan. 11 date will likely be pushed again). “When you see the flying where Spider-Man is riding Goblin’s back over the audience and fighting with him in midair, it’s thrilling,” he says. “You’ve never seen anything like it.”

Spider-Man will open at a difficult time on Broadway, with more than 15 shows having closed around New Year’s. Three recent musicals — Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Scottsboro Boys and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown — have failed and will be gone by the end of January.

Spider-Man likely will do better than that, though, given its cost, it could succeed and still fail. Veteran producer Manny Azenberg hopes Spider-Man succeeds because Broadway needs a smash on the order of Wicked and Lion King. None has emerged since Jersey Boys opened in 2005.

“The mega-musical propels the industry, both in New York and on the road,” Azenberg says. “We need one.”

Jeff Lunden contributed to this report. Subscribers can read the whole story here.

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