Every Broadway season boasts a show or two that promises big-screen thrills delivered on record-busting budgets. Back in 1987, the Shubert Organization swallowed the cost of structural reinforcements to the Majestic Theatre in order to book “The Phantom of the Opera,” with its swinging chandelier. In 2008, DreamWorks spent $25 million turning its animated hit “Shrek” into a showcase for Brian d’Arcy James and Sutton Foster. “Rocky: The Musical” — with its levitating boxing ring — cost 15 times the budget of “Rocky,” the $1.1 million movie (or 35 times, if you count the $20 million spent on the initial development and Hamburg production).
There was “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” of course, which came and went from what’s now the Lyric Theatre (home to “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) for anywhere from $75 million to $90 million, depending on whose account you believe. That was followed by Cirque du Soleil’s $25 million-plus flop “Paramour.”