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Broadway box offices have a happy holiday, with few smiling more than 'Spider-Man' producers
NEW YORK (AP) ' Look who's got a big smile behind his mask on Broadway ' none other than the once-mocked Spider-Man.
The Broadway League reported Tuesday that "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" took in a whopping $2,941,790 over nine performances last week, which is the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history.
The Spider-Man show shatters the old record held by "Wicked," which last January recorded the then-highest one-week take on Broadway with a $2,228,235 haul, though over eight-shows. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation. Last week, "Wicked" took in $2,712,535 over nine shows.
Both shows' haul reflect the use of premium seating, in which producers charge higher prices for certain days and certain seats. Also, "Wicked," which is performed at the Gershwin Theatre, has about 100 seats less than the 1,930-seat Foxwoods Theatre, home of the superhero musical.
The stunt-heavy Spider-Man show, which at $75 million makes it the costliest ever on Broadway, muscled to the top despite a turbulent history, including injuries to actors, delays in opening night, poor reviews and a record-breaking preview period.
Many shows this holiday season added a ninth show to their regular eight-show week. Most had a happy holiday as a result, including "The Book of Mormon" with $1,752,601 over nine shows and "The Lion King" at $2,444,132 over nine performances.
"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" with Daniel Radcliffe ending his Broadway run broke the box office record at the Hirschfeld Theatre the week ending Sunday, grossing $1,910,224 over nine performances.
Hugh Jackman also ended his 10-week concert show run at the Broadhurst Theatre on Sunday after having earned $2,057,354 in its final nine performances, the highest weekly gross recorded by the Shubert Organization, which owns the Broadhurst and 16 other Broadway theaters.
And Broadway's "Mary Poppins" grossed $2,444,032 at the Minskoff Theatre during its nine-performance week, which is a house record and the highest weekly gross in the show's 14 year run.
But the success of the stunt-heavy "Spider-Man" musical comes despite one of the most turbulent productions in Broadway history, including injuries to actors, delays in opening night, poor reviews and a record-breaking preview period.
The fans have kept coming despite a spring shake-up that led to the firing of Julie Taymor ' the original co-book writer and director ' and an overhaul of the plot and songs by U2's Bono and the Edge. Producers say it has been seen by more than 600,000 people over the past year.
Producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris have said their data on the audiences for "Spider-Man" indicate that half of all attendees had never been to a Broadway show before and more than half were from outside New York.
The positive box-office news ' in addition to the new record, the show has consistently grossed more than the $1.2 million a week the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable ' has helped persuade Harris and Cohl to keep the show in New York, forgoing for now schemes to tour or franchise it.
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