Skip to content

Holiday week boosts every Broadway show as industry posts highest-grossing week of the season to date

For the week ending Dec. 31, the 27 currently running productions grossed $45,413,789 — breaking multiple industry records.

Tshidi Manye as Rafiki in “The Lion King” on Broadway (Credit: Joan Marcus)

The final week of 2023 was a boon for Broadway, with its total box office tally hitting $45,413,789 for the week ending Dec. 31 (the 32nd week of the 2023-2024 Broadway season). This represents a 35.7% increase from the week ending Dec. 24, a boost that was felt across the industry as all shows enjoyed a higher gross than the week prior. The 27 currently running productions welcomed 256,751 admissions, up 13.5% from the previous week.

The week encompassing Christmas and New Year’s typically is the highest-grossing of the year, and the $45 million indeed marks the highest of the 2023-2024 season to date. This is not, however, Broadway’s highest-grossing week in history; the week ending Dec. 30, 2018, holds that distinction. During the same week last season (the week ending Jan. 1, 2023), Broadway took in $51,912,862, yet six more shows were playing. However, this season’s holiday week saw higher capacity, with seats filled to 95.8% — the most so far this season — compared to 92.3% for the same week last season.

While the week was not an overall record-breaker, many individual shows broke house records, and 18 shows had their highest grossing week ever, likely aided in part by both holiday tourism and the fact that 10 productions offered nine performances instead of the usual eight.

Prior to this week, only two Broadway shows had grossed over $4 million in one week (“Hamilton” for eight performances the week ending Dec. 30, 2018 and “The Lion King” for nine performances the week ending Jan. 1, 2023). For its nine performances this past week, “The Lion King” was the industry’s top earner, taking in $4,316,629. This figure breaks not only a house record at the Minskoff Theatre, but an industry-wide record for the highest single-week gross of a show. 

The week’s second-highest earner was “Wicked,” grossing $4,003,233 across nine performances. A record high for the musical, this is also the first time the musical has earned in excess of $4 million in its 20-year run. “Aladdin,” with a gross of $2,979,728 for nine performances, broke a house record at the 120-year-old New Amsterdam Theatre, taking its place as the third-highest earner of the week.

Five other shows earned over $2 million. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” broke the Lyric Theatre’s house record, taking in $2,718,488 for eight performances. This total also broke the industry record for the highest single-week gross for a non-musical play on Broadway.

For its nine performances at the Neil Simon Theatre, “MJ” earned $2,613,841, a house record. “Hamilton” took in $2,404,967 and “Back to the Future” grossed $2,109,424 for eight performances each. “Sweeney Todd’’’s seven performances garnered $2,261,279.

Twelve additional musicals earned in the $1 million range, including “Hadestown” ($1,114,449), “Merrily We Roll Along” ($1,995,358), “Moulin Rouge!” ($1,786,154), “Shucked” ($1,050,251), “Spamalot” ($1,503,187) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,530,926), all of which played eight performances. “A Beautiful Noise” took in $1,114,630 for nine performances. “& Juliet” ($1,784,051 for nine performances), “Gutenberg! The Musical!” ($1,280,597 for eight performances) and “SIX” ($1,659,004 for nine performances) were also part of this group, each breaking the house record at their respective theaters. 

“Chicago” saw its highest gross in the revival’s 27-year history: $1,452,009 for nine performances.

“Some Like it Hot,” which closed on Dec. 30, had its highest-grossing week of its run, earning $1,398,818 for eight performances. The musical also had its best-attended week, with 11,190 admissions, surpassing the 11,044 attendances during its nine performances in the 32nd week of last season. Theatergoers filled the seats of the Shubert Theatre to 96.6% capacity, the first time the musical surpassed the 90% capacity mark since the week ending June 18, 2023, and only the fifth time in its entire run.

In addition to “Some Like it Hot,” 21 other productions filled seats to 90% capacity or higher. “The Book of Mormon,” which just became the 12th longest-running show in Broadway history, had the highest capacity of the week at 102%, due to standing room attendees. “Purlie Victorious” was the only show to play to a theater filled less than 60%.

“I Need That,” the Danny Devito-led play, finished its extended limited run on Dec. 30, filling the American Airlines Theatre to 99.6% capacity. For the week ending Dec. 31, the comedy grossed $905,467, the highest for the Roundabout Theatre Company-owned venue, breaking a record the show set earlier this season.

For the first time since it began previews in September, “Merrily We Roll Along” did not have the highest average paid admission of the week. “The Lion King” held the top spot, posting an average of $286.61. “Merrily” only fell to the second-highest slot, however, offering an average paid admission of $258.20.

“Prayer for the French Republic,” in the second week of its Broadway transfer, was the lowest earner of the week with $264,770. However, it played just five previews. 

Season to date, theaters have been filled to an overall 88.5% capacity, which is higher than the 86.8% at this point in the 2022-2023 season. Total gross to date for the 2023-2024 season is $940,307,885, down 2.6% from last year. At 7,421,232 admissions to date, attendance is down a slight 0.3% from last year.