Sure, this is a Broadway web site. But let’s begin this week’s discussion with a movie. Critics and audiences pretty much universally rejected the Rock of Ages film. Released June 15, the film’s been in movie theaters for two weeks and has only grossed about $23 million. With a $75 million production budget, it looks like Rock of Ages will be one of the biggest flops of the summer.
Here’s the interesting thing, though: the bad buzz around the movie hasn’t negatively affected the box office of the Broadway show. In fact, the film might have done it some good.
Rock of Ages has been playing to more than 90% capacity since February, 2012 (except for the week ending 4/22/12, where it dipped to 89% capacity). Granted, it’s playing the Helen Hayes Theater, which, at 583 seats, is Broadway’s smallest house. But those are still some seriously consistent numbers. In fact, Rock of Ages routinely falls in the top 5 shows on Broadway in terms of capacity percentage.
Since the film came out, the stage musical has only seen an increase in its capacity number. The week ending 6/17/12, the show was at 98.1% capacity, up 0.3% from the previous week. The week ending 6/24/12 saw a 99.1% capacity – up 0.7%. Tickets aren’t cheap either, which means people are still willing to pay top price to see a show that opened in 2009. The average ticket price last week? A whopping $109.58. Top ticket price? $248! That’s more than million-dollar-club mainstays Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, Jersey Boys, Newsies, and The Lion King.
So how has Broadway’s Rock of Ages avoided the fallout from Hollywood’s Rock of Ages? Maybe it’s because the Broadway show has kept its distance. The film advertisements rarely mention the Broadway show, and the show itself hasn’t spent too much time making the connections to the film. The show that launched Jeremy Jordan’s career has also gotten some buzz from new cast members Justin Matthew Sargent, Genson Blimline, and the soon-to-be Mrs. Jeremy Jordan, Ashley Spencer. Plus, Rock of Ages has one of the most loyal fan-bases around -– a fact they openly tout in many of their ads.
But more than anything, Broadway’s Rock of Ages has remained a hit for, well, rocking. Unlike the watered-down film, the stage show is a total party. One might say it’s “nothin’ but a good time” (oof).
So, why do you think Rock of Ages continues to fill houses? Would you rather sit through the movie or the musical? Let us know in the comments.