You may be hearing a lot of buzz about the biggest hits on Broadway — but you might be surprised to learn that new favorites like "Book of Mormon" and "Kinky Boots" aren't the ones that are actually bringing in the biggest bankrolls. In fact, it's an old tried-and-true movie reincarnation that's still captivating audiences: "The Lion King."
With plenty of new kid-friendly shows opening ("Annie," "Cinderella," "Matilda") it may be no surprise that a family-oriented musical has been the top seller almost consistently for 10 years. But as we learned from "The Circle of Life," all things must come to an end.
What are a few rising Broadway blockbusters that might overthrow the Disney dynasty?
Let's have a look at the numbers from the past two weeks:
1. 'The Lion King' – $2,155,758
2. 'Wicked' - $2,088,425
3. 'The Book of Mormon' - $1,738,664
4. 'Kinky Boots' - $1,612,845
5. 'Motown: The Musical' - $1,483,470
1. 'The Lion King' – $2,316,189
2. 'Wicked' - $1,907,228
3. 'The Book of Mormon' - $1,749,550
4. 'Kinky Boots' - $1,604,272
5. 'Motown: The Musical' - $1,478,595
According to these numbers, the only show with growth in the past week was, indeed, "The Lion King," with less than 1% increase in ticket sales. All the other top shows either stayed the same or showed slight decreases in ticket sale growth. "The Lion King" . Five years ago, to the week, "The Lion King" came in second to "Wicked," which grossed $1,522,686. However, 10 years ago this week, it was the same king of the jungle, (followed by another longtime earner that's still onstage running strong, "Mamma Mia!") earning $1,123,421 — nearly half of what the show's bringing in today.
For the record, this week's lowest-grossing shows were: "Soul Doctor" ($152,026), "The Assembled Parties" ($361,826), "The Nance" ($363,658), "Let It Be" ($369,391) and "Rock of Ages" ($425,397).
Broadwayworld.com offers plenty more comparative statistics about what's selling big and petering out, for all you number-crunching, theater-loving nerds out there.