NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway ended 2015 and started the new year with a bang, generating the best attended and highest grossing week in history. But theater producers may have a hangover when they see that box office receipts and overall attendance for 2015 dipped from the previous year.
According to Broadway League statistics released Monday, the total gross was $1.354 billion for 2015 and total attendance was put at 12.98 million. That's a decline from 2014's $1.362 billion haul and 13.13 million in attendance.
But there was plenty of Champagne popping last week when 20 shows — among the 38 playing — grossed over $1 million, with four grossing over $2 million ("Aladdin," ''The Book of Mormon," ''The Lion King" and "Wicked.")
New records were made at several Broadway theaters, including over at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where "Aladdin" made $2,398,110 for nine shows. The return of the super magical group "The Illusionists" took in $1,801,326 over 13 performances, smashing the Neil Simon Theatre's record set by "All the Way" in 2014.
The Peter Pan tale "Finding Neverland" also found a new weekly record haul at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with $1,477,174 over nine shows and "School of Rock — The Musical" did the same at the Winter Garden Theatre with $1,671,621 over the same nine performances.
In fact, the week ending Sunday "was the best attended and highest grossing New Year's week, and the best attended and highest grossing week on Broadway overall to date," according to the league. Over the seven days, Broadway box offices pulled in a staggering $43,065,466, helped by premium pricing, shows adding extra performances to their schedules and mild weather.
While new shows like "Hamilton" got much of the attention last year, it was an old favorite that actually won the title of highest-grossing show of 2015 — "The Lion King." It was the third year in a row that the Disney show has won the crown.
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FILE - This Jan. 19, 2012 file photo shows a theatergoer buys Broadway tickets at the Times Square TKTS discount ticket booth in New York. Broadway ended 2015 and started the new year with a bang, attracting the best attended and highest grossing week in history. But box office receipts and overall attendance for the year dipped. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)