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Broadway box office sees biggest Presidents Day weekend boost since 2017; nearly all shows increase in gross and attendance

For the week ending Feb. 18, the 23 currently running productions grossed $26,946,864.

The Broadway company of the “The Lion King,” 2023 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

In a week that encompassed both Presidents Day weekend and the promotional event Kids’ Night on Broadway, Broadway’s box office saw significant growth. Following the lowest-grossing week of the season to date, the 23 current Broadway productions took in $26,946,864, an increase of 27.2%. Attendance increased 7.3% from week ending Feb. 11, tallying 201,727 Main Stem admissions during week 39 of the 2023-2024 season. Theatergoers filled seats to 94.1%, up 8.1% from the week prior, and the highest capacity figure seen so far in calendar year 2024.

This year’s 27.2% jump in gross marks the largest increase over a week which includes Presidents Day weekend since 2017, when the gross increased 29.1%. Additionally, this year’s increase is well above the ten-year average increase of 19.4%.

20 shows enjoyed an increase in gross from the previous week. Of those 20, all but one (the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of “Doubt”) had an increase of over $100,000. “The Notebook” increased the most—by $648,885—however, the Ingrid Michaelson-scored musical is in just its second week of previews and played four more performances than the week before. “Wicked” had the next-largest gross increase ($630,706), followed by “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” ($553,485). The only three productions to show a decline in gross were “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Prayer for the French Republic” and “Appropriate,” the latter of which played only five performances due to illness-related cancellations.

The week’s highest-grossing show was “The Lion King,” which earned $2,004,314. This breaks a four-week streak of no show surpassing $2 million. The second- and third-place earners weren’t far behind: “Hamilton” took in $1,961,250, while “Wicked” earned $1,933,993. With a box office total of $413,166, “Days of Wine and Roses” was the lowest-grossing show of the week. “Doubt” was the second-lowest earner ($489,078), with “Prayer for the French Republic” as the third-lowest ($511,455).

In addition to the top-three earners, 12 other shows grossed over $1 million. These productions included “& Juliet” ($1,212,768), “Aladdin” ($1,438,904), “Back to the Future” ($1,325,148) “Hadestown” ($1,042,079) “Harry Potter” ($1,502,607), “Merrily We Roll Along” ($1,613,481), “MJ” ($1,565,741), “Moulin Rouge!” ($1,494,944) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,091,189), all of which played eight performances. At seven performances apiece, “Sweeney Todd” and “The Notebook” grossed $1,479,716 and $1,013,563, respectively. In Ariana Madix’s third week in the role of Roxie Hart, “Chicago” grossed $1,018,556 for eight performances. This is the first time the long-running revival has grossed in excess of $1 million for eight performances since week ending Dec. 29, 2019, when it took in $1,056,682 (since then, it has only surpassed $1 million during rare nine-performance weeks).

Attendance-wise, 20 shows saw an increase in admissions, two dipped (“Appropriate” and “Days of Wine and Roses”) and one remained steady (“Merrily”). “Spamalot” and “Wicked” clocked over 3,000 more attendances than the week prior, while “Back to the Future” and “Harry Potter” welcomed an increase of over 2,000 admissions each.

For the third consecutive week, the top-three slots for average paid admission belonged to “Merrily” ($208.78), “Appropriate” ($195.64) and “Hamilton” ($183.55). “Spamalot” had the lowest average admission ($89.42), with “Days of Wine and Roses” ($96.13) and “Kimberly Akimbo” ($104.46) the second- and third-lowest. Despite Kids’ Night on Broadway’s two-for-one ticket deal, which would ordinarily bring down the average price of admission, the industry overall saw an average paid admission of $133.91, up over $20 from the $112.98 average seen during the week ending Feb. 11.

Twenty shows filled their seats to 90% capacity or greater, including “& Juliet,” “Aladdin,” “Appropriate,” “Back to the Future,” “Chicago,” “Doubt,” “Harry Potter,” “Kimberly Akimbo,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “Prayer for the French Republic,” “SIX,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Book of Mormon,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.” As it has done for each week of its run, “Merrily” filled every seat of the Hudson Theatre,” while standing-room attendees allowed the capacity of “Hadestown,” “Hamilton” and “The Notebook” to exceed 100%. “Days of Wine and Roses” had the lowest capacity — and the only show below 60% — filling Studio 54 to 54.4%.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $1,117,470,529, a 3.8% decrease from this time last year. With 8,883,846 admissions to date, attendance is also slightly behind (0.9%) last year’s tally. However, capacity, at 88.8% to date, remains up (1%) compared to the 87.8% of seats filled at this point in time last season.