Broadway box offices took a major blow due to Hurricane Irene last week, with total grosses dropping 39 percent from the $20-million figure that shows earned the previous week, according to statistics provided by the Broadway League.
The sizeable drop is the result of Broadway shows being shuttered on their two most profitable days, Saturday and Sunday, when most productions stage three shows.
The shows that took the biggest hits were Wicked, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark and The Lion King. Despite only having five performances, those shows still managed to be the highest earners in comparison to other Broadway shows. Spider-Man Turn of the Dark earned $933,424, while The Lion King and Wicked each earned more than $1 million.
Billy Elliot, another popular show, grossed only $358,485 last week, less than half the $731,895 figure it earned the previous week.
Off Broadway shows suffered as well. Cirque Du Soleil’s Zarkana, which closed for the weekend, lost out on the opportunity to sell 22,000 tickets. The group declined to release financial figures to The Observer.
Broadway has typically prided itself on staying open during even the worst weather conditions. This was its first emergency shutdown since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.