Skip to content

Broadway attendance and gross rise as straight plays continue to command high average paid admission

For the week ending Dec. 10, the 26 currently running productions grossed $30,723,247.

(L-R) Kara Young and Heather Alicia Simms in “Purlie Victorious,” 2023 (Credit: Marc J. Franklin)

Broadway’s overall box office increased in terms of both gross and attendance as the end of 2023 approaches. For the week ending Dec. 10, the 26 productions currently playing took in $30,723,247, a 3.9% increase from the week prior. Attendance saw a similar uptick, as Broadway welcomed 227,099 admissions, 3.5% more attendances than the week prior. Theatergoers filled seats to 90.3% capacity.  

Of the 26 productions running, 21 saw an increase in gross from the week before. “Sweeney Todd” saw the largest increase, taking in $1,845,284 total, representing $245,335 more than the week ending Dec. 3. Four other shows saw an increase in excess of $100,000: “Back to the Future” grossed $147,036 more than the week before, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” ($142,346), “The Book of Mormon”($113,203) and “Wicked” ($154,069).

“Wicked”’s increase kept it as the second-highest earner of the week, taking in $2,263,703. The week’s highest grossing show, “The Lion King,” grossed $2,408,303. “Merrily We Roll Along” was the third-highest grossing show, taking in $1,923,742. 

In addition to the top three earners, 12 other shows took in a gross over $1 million: “& Juliet,” “A Beautiful Noise,” “Aladdin,” Back to the Future,” “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Hamilton,” “Harry Potter,” “MJ,” Moulin Rouge!,” “SIX,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Book of Mormon.”  

“How to Dance in Ohio,” which opened on Dec. 10, had the week’s leanest gross, taking in $308,990. The new musical recently announced a new ticket initiative, where unsold tickets are sold for $50 on the day of the performance, in an effort to fill every seat at every performance. “Ohio” filled the seats of the Belasco Theatre to 87.5% capacity.

Shucked, slated to close next month, filled the seats of the Nederlander Theatre to 90.1%. This is the first time the musical hit the 90% benchmark since the week ending Sept. 17. In addition to “Shucked,” over two-thirds of all shows running filled their seats to 90% capacity or higher: “& Juliet,” “Aladdin,” “Appropriate,” “Back to the Future,” “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Hadestown,” Hamilton,” “Harry Potter,” “I Need That,” “Merrily,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “SIX,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Book of Mormon,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.”

The revival of “Merrily” once again posted the highest average paid admission: $248.93. “The Lion King” and “Sweeney Todd” saw the second and third-highest average paid admission, at $189.03 and $177.02, respectively.

For the third week in a row of an unusual trend, every straight play yielded an average paid admission of over $100. “I Need That” posted an average paid admission of $119.55, just shy of “Harry Potter”’s $119.93. “Purlie Victorious” saw an average paid admission of $116.53, while “Appropriate”’s average was $115.98.

To date, the 2023-2024 season continues to hold steady compared to last season’s figures. This season, Broadway has clocked 6,712,279 attendances to date, which is 1.5% ahead of this point last year. Gross is down 1.4% from this time last year. Capacity-wise, theaters have been filled to 88.1% so far this season, compared to last season’s 86.7%.