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‘Shucked’ has highest-grossing week and ‘I Need That’ breaks a record as overall Broadway box office rises

For the week ending Dec. 17, the 26 currently running productions grossed $31,465,465.

Danny DeVito in “I Need That” (Credit: Joan Marcus)

As the end of 2023 nears, during the week ending Dec. 17 Broadway’s box office saw an increase, while attendance slipped slightly. The 26 currently running productions took in $31,465,465, a 2.4% increase from the week prior. Attendance dipped 0.7%, as the Main Stem counted 225,585 admissions. Seats were filled to 89.6% capacity.

Seventeen shows saw an increase, five of which were greater than $100,000. “Hamilton” grossed $1,988,477, representing $164,416 more than the week ending Dec. 10. “I Need That” ($133,671), “SIX” ($102,429), “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” ($101,851) and “The Lion King” ($101,030) also had a dollar increase in excess of $100,000.

“I Need That”’s $134,000 increase buoyed the show’s weekly gross to $821,588. The Danny DeVito-led play now holds the distinction of having the highest-grossing week of any show, play or musical, at Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre. The previous record-holder was a revival of “The Price,” which grossed $773,910 during the week ending May 14, 2017. Notably, “The Price” is DeVito’s only other Broadway credit.

“Shucked” also enjoyed the highest gross of its run so far. In the lead-up to its Jan. 14, 2024 closing date, the musical grossed $885,640.

With a gross of $2,509,333, “The Lion King,” was once again the week’s highest-earner. “Wicked,” in second place, grossed $2,309,240, while “Hamilton” secured the third-highest slot, taking in $1,988,477.

The week’s lowest-earner was “How to Dance in Ohio,” earning $364,046. However, this is the new musical’s highest-grossing week since it began previews on Nov. 15. On the other hand, “Ohio” had the biggest dip in attendance from the week prior, taking in 1,412 fewer admissions compared to the week ending Dec. 10.

In addition to the three top earners, 11 shows grossed over $1 million: “& Juliet,” “Aladdin,” “Back to the Future,” “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Harry Potter,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “SIX,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Book of Mormon.” “SIX” has now grossed in excess of $1 million four weeks in a row, a feat the musical has not accomplished since April of this year.

“Merrily” continued the trend of posting the highest average paid admission: $250.03. “The Lion King”’s $192.92 was the week’s second-highest, while “Hamilton” ($185.82) posted the third-highest. For the fourth consecutive week, all four straight plays running commanded an average paid admission of over $100: “Harry Potter”’s was $134.15, while “Appropriate” and “Purlie Victorious” posted averages of $112.06 and $111.51, respectively. At $140.18, “I Need That”’s average paid admission was the highest of the plays, representing an increase of nearly $21 from the average posted in the week ending Dec. 10.

“Hamilton”’s standing-room attendees brought its capacity to 101%, while “Merrily” theatergoers occupied every seat in the Hudson Theatre. Fifteen other shows filled seats to 90% capacity or higher: “& Juliet,” “Aladdin,” “Appropriate,” “Back to the Future,” “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Hadestown,” “I Need That,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “Shucked,” “SIX,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Book of Mormon,” “The Lion King” and Wicked.”

Compared to this time last year, the 2023-2024 season remains relatively consistent. Season to date, Broadway has welcomed 6,938,314 admissions, up a slight 0.7% from last season. So far this season, Broadway shows have grossed a total of $861,415,071, down 2% from this time in the 2022-2023 season.