Theater & art

Records fall as Broadway shows rake in the cash

NEW YORK — Two Broadway shows with very different audiences broke box office records last week — the kid-friendly ‘‘Matilda the Musical’’ and the very adult revival of Harold Pinter’s ‘‘Betrayal.’’

Data released Tuesday from the Broadway League shows that the sold-out revival of the Harold Pinter play starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in a crumbling marriage took in $1,112,027 over seven performances ending Sunday, breaking the Barrymore Theater’s weekly box office record. It had set the record the week before with $1,100,818.


On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, ‘‘Matilda’’ had its best week ever, pulling in $1,430,085 and creating a new record at the Shubert Theatre for the sixth time. The English hit opened April 11 and has been an instant draw, regularly grossing over $1 million a week.

Michael David, a ‘‘Matilda’’ producer, credited his show’s surge to the Columbus Day holiday weekend and the decision last week to scrap the Wednesday night performance of ‘‘Matilda’’ in favor of two shows on Sunday. He said Broadway is enjoying a robust October after a slow September. ‘‘For a lot of shows, this was a breath of fresh air. Everything worked together, if you planned it right, to make healthy box office business.’’

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David has watched as early curiosity in ‘‘Matilda,’’ a witty musical adaptation of the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, has led to strong ongoing interest in America, no sure thing. ‘‘That ongoing interest accounts for, after six months, the capability of the show to do as well as it’s doing.’’

Not to be outdone, ‘‘The Book of Mormon’’ broke the Eugene O’Neill Theatre’s box office record — for the 45th time. The show’s grosses were $1,844,549 for the week ending Sunday with a top premium ticket going for $477. Unsurprisingly, the musical also had the highest average paid admission at $210.

Overall, Broadway box offices are ahead of where they were last season at this time. Last week’s 28 shows grossed $24,614,027, ahead of the same week in 2012 in which 26 shows pulled in $20,614,956. Four shows are still in previews, including a play based on John Grisham’s ‘‘A Time to Kill.’’


‘‘Soul Doctor,’’ the musical about the life and music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, bowed out Sunday after playing 32 previews and 66 regular performances. It was critically savaged and was earning less than 20 percent of its box office potential. The week also bid farewell to ‘‘The Trip to Bountiful,’’ a well-regarded revivial of Horton Foote’s play that starred Cicely Tyson.

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