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The musical, which made headlines for its problem-plagued production before it hit the stage, announced earlier this week that it’s leaving New York and moving to Vegas.
The show cost a record $75 million, making it the most expensive Broadway musical ever, and some investors told the Times they haven’t seen a dime during the production’s three-year run, adding that they were planning to write off their investments. Most Broadway flops lose $5 million to $15 million, the newspaper says.
Despite costly delays, a highly publicized dispute between original director Julie Taymor and producers and a string of on-stage accidents, the special-effects-laden production was a steady performer at the box office, with weekly grosses of $1.5 million or more during its first year and a half.
But most of that money went to the show’s running costs of $1 million to $1.3 million a week, according to the Times. The show also had to make payments on multimillion-dollar priority loans from lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris and investor Norton Herrick.
After weekly ticket sales fell below $1 million in late August and remained at that level, it seemed only a matter of time before the show would close. In total, it has grossed $203 million, making it the 16th-highest-earning Broadway show ever.
Investors told the Times they didn’t blame mismanagement by the producers for the show’s demise, but instead complained about the show’s unsustainable budget and poor reviews, including for the score composed by Bono and The Edge.
“We will see nothing back, not a cent,” investor and veteran producer Terry Allen Kramer told the Times. “A lot of us feel that it’s an extraordinary show with lousy music, but the main problem is that the budget numbers were a disaster — just a disaster.”
Kramer added that she wasn’t sure if the show would work in Vegas or if she will want to invest in that production. “I don’t want to be stupid again,” she told the Times.
Cohl told the Times that he and Harris have been paid back portions of their loans, but many investors will lose all their money unless the musical is profitable in future productions. In addition to the Vegas show, a run in Germany is envisioned in the future.
“I think the investors will eventually see something, but look, this is showbiz,” Cohl said. “I hope the show will be a huge hit in Vegas and Germany and on an arena tour, and then I expect them to see some money back. But it will be a long road and take a long time.”
A rep for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark said they weren’t confirming any financials but added that the Times‘ “math seems dubious.”
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