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'Spider-Man' Scales New Broadway Record in Strong Holiday Week Box Office

The superhero musical grossed more than $2.9 million in a busy holiday session, placing it ahead of perennial top-earners "Wicked" and "The Lion King."

Jacob Cohl

NEW YORK – Capping off a year in which the superhero musical shrugged off its turbulent production history and blistering reviews to earn a regular spot among the top five earners on Broadway stages, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has set a new record for a single-week box office gross, raking in $2,941,794 for the week ending Jan. 1.

The Christmas-through-New Year’s period traditionally is a bountiful one for Broadway, with many shows setting new house records. But the haul for Spider-Man tops by a wide margin the previous high of $2,228,235 set by perennial performer Wicked last season. Wicked this year came in a close second in the holiday stakes, grossing $2,712,535.

Also topping the $2 million mark was Disney’s long-running blockbuster The Lion King with $2,444,132, and Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway, which earned $2,056,957 in its closing week. In the final week of performances before Daniel Radcliffe exited the production, the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was not far behind with $1,910,224, while The Book of Mormon, playing in a significantly smaller house, followed with $1,752,601.

Total Broadway grosses for the week were $37,657,453, up from just under $35 million during New Year’s week the previous season. However, attendance this round slipped slightly from 329,609 in 2010 to 321,152 last week; the higher grosses indicate a larger number of premium-priced tickets being sold.

With a seating capacity of 1,930, the Foxwoods Theater, where Spider-Man is playing, is Broadway’s largest, giving the production an advantage in SRO weeks.

“We are thrilled that the public has taken such a liking to this show,” said producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris. “The audience continues to grow, and it is great to enter the New Year with such momentum.”

The musical played to 100% capacity over the nine-performance holiday schedule, with average paid admission of $169.31. The Book of Mormon notched up a higher average of $178, but the best on the chart was Hugh Jackman, with an average of $190.65. 

It may yet be two or more years before Spider-Man recoups its reported initial capitalization of $75 million. But the show’s consistently strong grosses since officially opening in June indicate that uncommonly high public awareness and saturation media coverage  – including a New Year’s Eve stunt in Times Square featuring resident villain the Green Goblin during Anderson Cooper’s CNN coverage – are paying off.

Press reps for Spider-Man say the show has now been seen by more than 700,000 audience members from around the world.

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